I saw the preview of Grand Hotel on Monday 3rd August 2015 at Southwark Playhouse. For those of you, like me, who had never seen the musical before it is set in 1928 over the
course of 1 weekend where you see the various guests (and staff) collide. The guests include an ageing prima ballerina, a dying Jewish book-keeper, a broke Baron, a typist dreaming of Hollywood and a business man finding his way.
This production of Grand Hotel is set in traverse. Often when one thinks about this show you imagine a huge set but this production is done elegantly with just flooring and an imposing, opulent chandelier which I liked.
The show was very slick with all scene changes carried out by the cast in a perfectly choreographed manner. Talking of choreography, Lee Proud did a great job. ‘The Grand Charleston’ was a joy to watch, in keeping with the period yet feeling fresh at the same time.
The show being set in the traverse poses it’s own difficulties but this production didn’t falter and the direction by Thom Southerland embraced this and used it to his advantage. Despite sitting quite far to the side sight lines were surprisingly not an issue.
The production really gets to the heart of the matter in the latter part of the show when the darker side of the hotel guests took hold. Whilst I don’t want to spoil the ending for those still to see it, a nod must go to the beautiful symbolism towards the end.
The cast all did a great job. Victoria Serra as Flaemmchen sang and danced beautifully and her characters yearning for the big time was evident. Scott Garnham as Baron Felix Von Gaigern had a stunning voice and his scene with Elizaveta played by Christine Grimandi was one of my favorites in the show. The 2 Jimmys, played by Durone Stokes and Jammy Kasongo also deserve a mention – their movement was spot on and their energy so high.
The show runs until the 5th September and is a must see for musical theatre fans to watch this show performed in an elegant and intimate setting. Click here to purchase tickets.