IT was once said about builders that all they have to do was see was a patch of green grass and they would immediately want to put a house on it.
The same sort of thing can be said about modern theatre impresarios – one viewing of a successful film, romance, drama or comedy, and they want to add music and mount a production with the words “The Musical” added to the title.
Pretty Woman – The Musical took a little while in gestation, from the 1990 film to the 2018 first USA production, to 2020 in London’s West End, and now until October 2024 it will be touring nationwide. It has the advantage of a script, written by the original screen writers Garry Marshall and JE Lawton, which retains the warm charm that made the film such a worldwide success, and a stylish set and costume designs from David Rockwell and Tom Rogers, that add appropriate visual images to the story.
A couple of hummable hits would have added zest to Bryan Adams’ and Jim Vallance’s workmanlike rather than memorable score and lyrics, but they fit readily enough into the storyline and give soloists and ensemble chances to show off their vocal talents. There are some romantic melodies on hand for Amber Davis and Oliver Savile, in the Julia Roberts-Richard Gere roles of ambitious warm-hearted prostitute Vivian and blinkered businessman Edward, to demonstrate their relationship going from hired escort to lovers – and the opportunities to shine were not ignored.
When it came to extrovert drive and happy-go-lucky power it was Natalie Paris, as Vivian’s streetwise buddy Kit de Luca, and Ore Oduba making a splendid job of combining the sly comedy of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel manager Mr Thompson, with the outrageous full-blooded drive of the Happy Man, who swept all before them.
Director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell doesn’t produce any theatrical fireworks, but wisely keeps the story within its original time zone, producing a highly polished presentation of a much loved story which should please its army of fans and give those who come new to Pretty Woman a pleasant evening’s entertainment.
The show is at the Hippodrome until 11th November. After that, you will have to wait until April 2024 before it arrives back at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, or June 2024 on the stage of the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton.