★★★★ Death Takes A Holiday “Thom Southerland delivers a ravishing production.
As in previous works such as Grand Hotel and Titanic,the score displays a rare ability to give voice to a wide range of characters, often within a single song." Michael Arditti, Daily Express 5 STARS.
"The quality of Maury Yeston's score surpasses his own Phantom, as well as that of Andrew Lloyd Webber! It's a long time since a musical in the West End has been served by such rich and emotionally charged melodies"
This is a long way from a pop musical; it has the sweep and the charm of an operetta with some lush orchestration. In some company numbers, which supply narrative, the overall sound smothers diction but they build the drama and something always follows to clarify the storyline.
In his inaugural season as Artistic Director of The Charing Cross Theatre, Mr Southerland earned his spurs as the ‘must go-to’ creative hand on the tiller of Yeston’s Titanic: in this later, superbly-cast chamber piece, he works his magic once again in tandem with several cast and creative collaborators from previous successes. Their unity of purpose illuminates every scene to thrilling effect. To see such a gripping musical unfold on stage in such an achingly beautiful production can prove quite unsettling initially, the quintessential elegance of its muted sets and costumes (Morgan Large) vividly illustrating the story of Thomas Meehan and Peter Stone’s ingeniously-plotted book.
Although Gay Soper’s dotty Countess Evangelina instinctively dismisses the Prince’s blandishments intuiting his true identity and the purpose of his visit early on, her assessment is ridiculed as delusional by everyone, including her unrequited love interest, Anthony Cable’s elderly Baron Dario: in a show alive with life-affirming numbers, they share one of Death’s most poignant songs ‘December Time’.
Like much of Yeston’s sumptuous score, it shares lilting undercurrents of melody with Titanic, the similarities of the two shows further emphasised by Larry Hochman’s orchestrations for Dean Austin’s ten-piece band which imbue each song with an irrestible life force of its own.
★★★★ Death Takes A Holiday "under the masterful direction of Thom Southerland, this musical soars & shines. Ravishing, this sweet production is testament to the fact simplicity can be beautiful"