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Pretty Woman – Leeds Grand Theatre

Reviewer: Jennie Eyres

Book: Garry Marshall and J.F Lawton

Music and Lyrics: Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance

Director (and Choreographer): Jerry Mitchell

Pretty Woman – one of the most iconic rom com films of the 90’s. A classic Pygmalion trope in which a young woman is plucked from obscurity to become something that she’s not while on the journey to finding out who she really is. And now on tour, in musical form.

It would be easy to bemoan the fact that this production sits very solidly in the late 80’s/early 90’s, it has not been modernised, nor has the story been changed to become somehow grittier or to have less of a fairytale ending. It would be even easier to find fault with quite how close this version is to the film itself, every single classic line and scene has been included, it is almost a complete replica, but for the songs by Bryan Adams (yes, the Canadian rocker) and Jim Vallance, and the very 90’s inspired dance routines.

However, to do either of those things would not be fair on this slick, enjoyable, high-quality production. Anyone coming to see this touring show should be under no illusion that it is entirely faithful to the original film and knows it. The recognition of the joy and humour within the film and therefore within this production too, is clear to see on every one of the cast’s faces. They know that a full-scale homage is in progress and they are entirely unapologetic about it. Nor should they be.

The cast is hugely talented, the costumes and set achingly accurate and the characters absolutely perfect. The Pretty Woman herself, Vivian Ward, is played by the diminutive Amber Davies. Despite one of her major credits being ‘Winner of Love Island 2017’ this should not be held against her and does not accurately prepare the audience for the warm and funny performance she gives. Her voice is beautiful, sounding every bit the Georgia native that Vivian is supposed to be. In particular the song I Can’t Go Back showcased her range and vocal ability brilliantly.

Oliver Savile plays sophisticated, disgustingly rich businessman Edward Lewis, and he is a perfect leading man. Able to react effectively as the straight man to the antics going on around him, and to command the stage with ease in his songs, this role appeared to be made for him.

For anyone who has seen Natalie Paris (Kit De Luca) in the original West End cast of Six, her voice will be no surprise, it is strong and powerful and full of character. She has been brilliantly cast in this show and is another strong contender for star performance.

However, there is a certain Ore Oduba in this cast, who plays an array of different roles and is on stage at least 80% of the time. He shines in his role(s) and proves that winning the 14th series of Strictly Come Dancing is not the only reason he has been given the role. He can sing, dance and play character roles all day long. His performance is fantastic from start to finish and the energy on stage when he is present is palpable.

It would be easy to simply run through this cast naming everyone, such is the quality of those in supporting roles and the ensemble, but a special mention should be made for Noah Harrison who plays Bellboy, Giulio. His comic timing, physical comedy and facial expressions provide some of the most memorable comedic moments.

The storyline of the show means that it was never going to be a trailblazing, ground-breaking musical, no one was ever going to come out of it thinking they’d just seen something that they had never seen before.

But so what? Why does it have to do any of those things?

This is a strong, enjoyable musical with skilled and solid performances throughout, catchy enough tunes and high production values. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that is also in its favour. Absolutely worth the ticket price, and probably worth a second visit too.

Runs until 25th May 2024.

Pretty Damn Good

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The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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