The Other Palace, which was formally the St James Theatre, isn’t holding back in relaunching with its new, somewhat glitzier name. We can only hope that the future productions have a little more substance than this one.
Frances Ruffelle was the name on the billboards – but she unfortunately failed to deliver. Her vocal performance was weak and didn’t sound dissimilar to her portrayal of Eponine back in 1985. To be fair to her, the content of the show does not allow her to demonstrate many strings of her acting bow, but it can’t account for her lack of diction. She was fine, but no more than that.
John Owen Jones, Donna McKechnie and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt were really the stars of the show – the quality of their performances could even have fooled the audience for a minute into thinking that there was a turning point in the story. Owen-Jones didn’t faulter in his slimy and ever suspicious portrayal of Burrs, while Hamilton-Barritt and McKechnie more than made up for what Ruffelle lacked in vocals.
Simon Thomas Dex Lee, Ako Mitchell, Lizzy Connolly, Tiffany Graves, Melanie Bright, Sebastien Torkia, Steven Serlin, Genesis Lynea, Gloria Obianyo, and Bronte Barbe completed the cast. They were difficult to fault. Their execution of Drew McOnie’s choreography was exciting and non stop. Despite it seeming rather too similar to that of Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park in parts, McOnie did a good job both directing and choreographing this piece, with a plot line which has little to it apart from sex and infidelity.