Gypsy is the ultimate story of a very ambitious stage mother and her daughters. Join Rose, June and Louise in their trip across the United States during the 1920's, when vaudeville was dying and see the emergence of the world-famous burlesque artist, Gypsy Rose Lee. Julie Styne's music and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics include Let Me Entertain You, Some People, You'll Never Get Away from Me, If Momma Was Married, All I Need Is the Girl, Everything's Coming Up Roses, You Gotta Get A Gimmick and Together Wherever We Go.
A MUSICAL definitely of two halves as the innocence of vaudeville gives way to the seduction of burlesque in the American theatres of the 1930s.
First we have the Shirley Temple-style cuteness of Baby June, played to perfection in the early scenes by real-life eight-year-old Cherry-Rose Cleverley.Baby June bobs her corkscrew blonde curls and cartwheels across the stage as she asks the audience “What's your name?”. Trouble is she and her shy sister, Baby Louse (Joanna Gay), have to keep repeating the same little girl act as the years roll by and they morph into young women, played by Jodie Gibson and Lucy Hayton. All that changes as the increasingly rebellious and no longer 'Baby' Jane revolts, and her place in the act has to be taken by awkward Louise, anxious to please their stage-struck mother, Rose (Vicki Hollings).
Gypsy - said to be based on the real story of Gypsy Rose Lee - was a hit on Broadway back in 1959 when Ethel Merman played pushy mother Rose and a young Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics. It went on to become a successsful film.
But as a Christmas musical for the Criterion I'm not sure it was the best choice. The company – which has one of the best track records in amateur theatre - still doesn't have the surest touch with musicals. Not that I've come across many others that could do a better job and the live orchestra is a great addition, along with some new faces in the chorus line.
Certainly there was no doubt the temperature rose after the interval when the girls from wholesome variety start to learn a few things about entertainment from the semi-naked girls in one of the striptease clubs that are taking over the theatres.
Throughout the action Vicki Hollings has to dominate the stage and she does this unflinchingly most of the time. I particularly enjoyed her scenes with Matt Sweatman, who plays Herbie.
Meanwhile Lucy Hayton is a revelation as the reluctant performer who learns to leave her audience begging for more.
If you're looking to see this show then book very quickly as it's already practically a sell-out..
Verdict: A little dated but definitely worth watching.
Share your memory of Gypsy
By clicking Share you agree to allow us to
publish your memory
on our website for others to enjoy. We reserve the right to not publish any content we believe
to be inappropriate.