I met my best friend Evie last night for a pre theatre drink. We were off to see a show and we knew we wouldn’t be able to sit through anything without chattering if we didn’t have a catch up first! When it was time to leave and hit the Shaftesbury Theatre for ‘From Here To Eternity’ we felt a little like we didn’t really want to go after all… We could barely drag ourselves away from our conversation and really and truly we were wishing we were off to see Dirty Dancing, a long time favourite film of ours and something we have always promised ourselves we will see together. But… We made our way and took our seats which were just four rows from the front, not too shabby for us and hey, it might be good we thought, it has Darius Campbell in it after all…
I remember many moons ago thinking that Darius Campbell was a bit of a dish. That was back in his Pop Idol days when he was fighting for the winners spot against Will someone or other and Gareth Gates of Jordan fame. He came third in the competition but after seeing him perform in the West End last night I suspect he’s every right to feel the eventual victor these days! He was simply mesmerising on stage and Eve and I came away with a bit of a school girl crush actually! But I’m getting ahead of myself aren’t I! I haven’t even told you how this show won us over so… And it so won us over!
From the second the curtain was up we knew we had made a mistake wishing we were somewhere else… We knew, absolutely, that we were in for a treat! The singing, the dancing, the story which is oh so romantic, funny, desperately sad and sexily steamy… Where do I begin?
‘How have we not seen this on film?’ Eve whispered to me shortly after it began ‘Why was it not on our radar’? I thought! The story which sees G Company in 1941 Hawaii up to Pearl Harbour is a story of illicit love and army life. It has everything you want from a musical and more; adapted from one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century it simply comes alive on stage. I knew nothing of the story much to my Mother’s disapproval who told me how shocking the film had been in its sexual nature when it first came out. I was pleased though that the story was new to me and I got to see it for the first time on stage.
I am lucky; I get to see a lot of theatre for my blog but despite having seen ‘Wicked’ not so long ago and a whole host of other West End productions, I can honestly and truthfully say that I have never seen anything so wonderful in London. I have never seen anything quite so amazing in any theatre I have ever been in. ‘From Here To Eternity’ is quite simply something else!
Is it all down to Darius and his sexy, brooding portrayal of Milt who falls in love with his commanding officer’s wife? No. Not all down to him. He does light up the stage in a way that says this is where he was meant to be in life but I will have to concede that every single member of the cast contributed beautifully to make this my must see musical of 2013 and stop thinking so one trackedly of Dishy Darius for a second! Every single ‘new congress club girl’ and ‘Private’ in the ensemble cast had not a step out of place and with choreography that began with me thinking I might be able to keep up if I were dancing with them, had me laughing at my naivety as the show went on. Complicated, thrilling, energetic and dancing like I couldn’t even have attempted back when I was studying at Italia Conti let alone now I haven’t danced for a good ten years! It was dancing that had my eyes out on stalks!
The other love story in the show is between Lorene (Siubhan Harrison), a ‘new congress club girl’ and Private E. Lee Prewitt (Robert Lonsdale). Both were stunning but Robert Lonsdale sang rings around everybody else! The lyrics are by Tim Rice so obviously perfect and the music by Stuart Brayson is of typical West End brilliance! I loved Ryan Sampson as Private Angelo Maggio who provides humour and utter sadness in his performance, a combination which is so hard to perfect well but he managed it effortlessly. Other notable performances were Joshua Lacey as Bloom, David Stoller as Seargeant Ike Galovitch and the fabulous Rebecca Thornhill as Karen Holmes. There’s too many to mention really, I literally couldn’t fault a single performance!
From the scenery and costumes to the wonderful set changes and dramatic moments which made us gasp out loud, ‘From Here To Eternity’ had us in raptures all the way through. You know that moment at the end of a show when you wonder, shuffling on your bottom, if you should or if you shouldn’t get to your feet? You end up following the crowd and do what the herd dictate. Not so here! I was out of my seat with my hands above my head clapping wildly as soon as the bows began and believe you me, so was the rest of the audience. It was electric in the Shaftesbury last night and Eve and I came away saying ‘Dirty Dancing? Naaa, we’ll see this again thanks’! And again and again and again! If we could!
A wonderful musical which leaves the audience wanting more and frantically trying to comprehend what they’ve just seen for it is not just good, it is out of this world! I loved it, if you can go, go now! This will be a West End fixture for a long time to come I’m sure but it’s always best to be one of the first to see it if you ask me!
I have not been paid to write this post.