Titanic the Musical by Sedos
The sinking of the Titanic is a moment that has gone down in history, remembered for the grandeur of the ship itself, the literary of mistakes and the sheer numbers of lives lost. The musical however comes at the tragedy from a much more personal level, focusing on real people who were aboard the ship. In the musical we meet the staff from the Captain to the stoker, first class passengers including Ida and Isidor Straus who refused to leave each others sides, second class passengers such as Alice Beane who is determined to mingle with the millionaires and third class passengers such as Kate McGowan who is seeking a new life in America.
Due to the number of passengers we meet throughout the show, for the show to succeed there must be a real strength across the board in, at least 15 members of the cast have large amounts of solo singing and a great deal more with featured moments. The cast were incredibly strong across the board and very well cast with each person suiting their role. Due to the nature of the show it feels almost unfair to single out individuals however it would be remiss of me not to mention a couple.
Daniel Saunders played Captain E.J.Smith and he captured the essence of this person wonderfully, caught between safety and publicity demands, his portrayal was thoughtful and utterly convincing. Luke Leahy as Thomas Andrews, Titanic’s designer and Richard Upton as J.Bruce Ismay, the Managing Director of White Star line played out their opposing view points brilliantly, creating a tension between them (and Captain Smith) that finally erupted during ‘The Blame’ which was one of the highlights of the show for me. Frequently seen with Saunders was Jack Brown who played First Officer Murdoch, who captured Murdoch’s self doubt and horror as the events unfolded brilliantly.
Whilst the musical does have dramatic themes and moments of serious there were also moments of levity. Tess Robinson as Alice Beane pitched her humour wonderfully and her relationship with Josh Yard as Alice’s longsuffering husband brightened up the stage whenever they appeared.
Whilst the stories in the show are personal the music is epic, in particular ‘Godspeed Titanic’ and its reprise are huge ensemble numbers which show off the casts rich harmonies and vocal strength. Sedos utilised a large band of 17 under the baton of Ryan Macaulay, which paid off, creating a sound that did the huge score justice.
Due to the sheet numbers of the cast and the stage size at times the stage did feel overcrowded however there were some wonderful moments of direction by Louise Roberts and Rob Archibald, particularly in Act 2 when the women and men were separated to head to the lifeboats. These moments had a real creative flair which added to the drama of the piece whilst still being in keeping with the rest of the piece. These moments were enhanced with a thoughtful lighting design by Olly Levett. The set itself, designed by Andrew Laidlaw mainly compromised of a balcony surrounding the sides and back of the stage with 2 staircases on wheels. The stairs were moved throughout the show to create different configurations and appeared to be done entirely by the cast as they moved in and out of the action, helping ensure that the whole piece flowed well.
Sedos have succeeded in taking the epic piece of history and transforming it into a moving and often personal piece of theatre whilst maintaining the impressive ensemble sound and feel to the show.
Titanic is on at the Bridwell until Saturday 2nd December. You can find out more on their website.