sat 03/12/2016

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Gielgud Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Gielgud Theatre

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Gielgud Theatre

Two fine female leads can't forestall a West End wash-out

Catty, nous? Meow Meow frolics against insuperable odds - and Michel Legrand's wildly insistent scoreSteve Tanner

Zut alors! A gifted English theatre artist, Emma Rice, comes a serious Gallic cropper with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a stage musical adaptation of the through-sung 1964 movie that only succeeds in making the recent, prematurely departed Love Story look by comparison like Sweeney Todd. Telling a tale of stupefying banality with po-faced ponderousness and little wit, Rice throws at the material all manner of visual fillips and idiosyncrasies, adding in a narrator (Meow Meow's commendably game Maitresse) for good measure. But the danger with making much ado about nothing is that you risk more fully exposing the emptiness at the core: the theatre, far from abhorring a vacuum, tends to lay one bare.

Surely the teenage Genevieve demands some chink in the emotional armour, not the cool, unyielding customer that Carly Bawden plays throughout

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