The Life


Southwark Playhouse, London
2017-04-08 • 15:00

Cy Coleman and Ira Gasman’s The Life was one of the very first shows I saw on Broadway in 1997. Twenty years later, the Southwark Playhouse is giving it its London premiere, directed by Michael Blakemore, who already helmed the original production.

The story is a little bleak, but Cy Coleman’s score, even though not overly original (there’s even a direct quote from Mack and Mabel), is an absolute thrill. The orchestration for the reduced 11-piece orchestra, which puts the synthesisers in the background, is a distinct improvement on the original — it sounds absolutely glorious.

The cast, dominated by the brilliant Sharon D. Clarke, make the most of a story which does contain some cringeworthy moments.

All in all, a very joyous experience.

Music : Cy Coleman. Lyrics : Ira Gasman. Book : David Newman, Ira Gasman and Cy Coleman. Directed by Michael Blakemore. Choreographer: Tom Jackson Greaves. With T’shan Williams, David Albury, Sharon D. Clarke, Cornell S. John, John Addison, Joanna Woodward, Jo Servi, …

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