The QT

Monday 17 June 2024

Review: Pretty Woman: The Musical at Sunderland Empire

A musical adaptation of the smash hit nineties movie makes a return to the North East, setting up camp on Wearside for a long run. Our young reviewer, Molly Wear reports back from Rodeo Drive
Oliver Savile as Edward Lewis and Amber Davies as Vivian Ward. Credit: Marc Brenner

On Tuesday, the Sunderland Empire welcomed Pretty Woman: The Musical – currently making its way around the UK – for a two-week stay.

Anyone who is a fan of the hit movie starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere will be delighted to know that the musical stage adaptation captures all of the charm and feeling that made audiences fall in love with the story back in 1990. 

Grammy award winner Bryan Adams wrote the original music for the show alongside Jim Vallance and the score only adds to the heart of the business-arrangement-turned-love-story plot, amplifying the thoughts and feelings of the characters we know so well.

Starring as Beverly Hills escort Vivian Ward is Love Island winner Amber Davies. A great actress and magnificent singer, Davies did a great job in capturing the charm and pluckiness of Vivian, no easy task when you’re stepping into the iconic PVC boots worn so memorably by Julia Roberts.

Starring alongside Davies, Oliver Savile portrays powerful corporate raider Edward Lewis, whose cold exterior quickly thaws as he is captivated by both Vivian’s beauty and wit.

Best known for originating the role of Jane Seymour in the West End musical Six, Olivier Award nominated Natalie Paris had the audience in the palm of her hand as Vivian’s spunky best friend and roommate Kit de Luca.

Former Newsround host and Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba put in a terrific shift, playing both ‘Happy Man’, who acts as the show’s narrator and the manager of the Beverley Wilshire hotel, Mr Thompson.

A shout out also has to go to Noah Harrison as bellboy Giulio – an absolutely phenomenal dancer and comedic actor who stole the show whenever he was on stage. He also had great chemistry with Oduba’s hotel manager – always leaving us wanting more of the hotel’s behind the scenes antics.

The impressive set design by David Rockwell and costumes by Tom Rogers both contributed to the fantastic Hollywood setting, transporting us in a matter of seconds from the rough streets of Los Angeles to elegant parties and even the opera.

If you’re looking for a good night out, you really can’t go wrong with this feel-good romcom, whose title song, the timeless 1964 release by Roy Orbison, had everyone on their dancing feet at the end.

Pretty Woman: The Musical is at Sunderland Empire until June 8. Visit the website for tickets.

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