Powerful, poignant, superb – a brilliant night in a brilliant cause.
Thursday’s gala night retelling of the awful tragedy of the Titanic was delivered in support of the awful tragedy unfurling in the Ukraine.
Proceeds and donations from the performance will go towards helping a beleaguered country stay afloat against the most appalling odds – a fine gesture from the Kings, a gesture as fine in fact as the show it staged.
Titanic The Musical will always feel like three words you really wouldn’t want to see together – and yet it works wonderfully well, certainly in the skilled hands of all the company and crew bringing it to the stage at The Kings tonight.
It is true that some of the lines are banal (singing the ship’s vital statistic and its navigational position, for instance), and some of the lines are horribly clunky (“poetry and a perfection of physical engineering” – oh dear!)
But the overall effect is terrific in a piece which manages to suggest both the scope and the scale of the maritime disaster.
In the first half you have got the arrogant not-even-God-can-sink-this-ship attitude together with the fateful recklessness with which the ship was driven faster and faster on its maiden voyage.
And touchingly, you have got a wonderful sense of the characters, from millionaires to third-class, and all their reasons for being on board. Perhaps the night’s most affecting scene is the one where the lowest-class passengers, deep down below, sing of all their vastly varying hopes for the new life they should be starting soon.
And powerfully, it all combines to give a shivering sense of impending doom – which duly arrives.
As the ship sinks in the second half, there is again compelling characterisation – from the recriminations to the panic, from the desperation to board the lifeboats to the dignity and the resignation of all those inevitably left on the ship.
In truth, the night did bring a frustration which marred it a little.
Particularly when large numbers were singing together, the lyrics were virtually impossible to discern – which seemed a shame. They just weren’t crossing the orchestra pit with sufficient clarity.
But it’s a minor grumble on a night when an epic tale was told in support of the most compelling cause. Bravo to the Kings – for the show and for its support of the Ukraine.
The creative team includes directors Charlotte Alldridge and John Paul McCrohon with musical direction from Andrew Woodford and choreography by Jacqueline Willis. All worked wonders.
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