An American in Paris – Review:
Paris, romance, music and dancing creates an inviting mix, so it’ no surprise that ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s reinvention of the 1951 Oscar winning film, starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron ‘An American In Paris’, which is now showing at the newly refurbished Dominion Theatre has it all. This lavish production with the Gershwin’s brother’s magnificent and timeless music and ballet at its heart transports you to Paris in a spectacular fashion.
Hot footing it to the London stage after its success on Broadway, where it was nominated 12 times at the 2015 Tony Awards, scooping up four wins for Wheeldon’s beautifully executed choreography and Bob Crowley’s spectacular design. It arrives in London’s West End with both its leads in post: New York City Ballet’s Robert Fairchild and the Royal Ballet’s Leanne Cope.
Bob Crowley’s impressive set design, is thoroughly enchanting, the extraordinary technical wizardry and the clever use of projection creates a fluid River Seine and stunning sense of the Parisian boulevards with flamboyant splashes of modern art.
It isn’t really a plot-driven musical, and I failed to fully fall in love with the characters, but where the narrative lacks in depth it is made up for in bucket loads with its elegant style, unforgettable music, jazzy verve and graceful dance routines.
The story follows Jerry Mulligan (the masterful Robert Fairchild), a demobbed GI, who is trying to make his way as an artist in post-war Paris, where he meets Adam (David Seadon-Young), a pianist with aspirations of becoming a composer and the wealthy Henri (Hadyn Oakley) who dreams of life as a cabaret singer. The three unlikely friends, unbeknownst to each other all fall in love with the elegant Lise (perfectly portrayed by Leanne Cope), a talented ballerina who is working in the local department store. With the undying attention of three men, Lise’s loyalties are tested in her plight to find love. Whilst Jerry finds himself the apple of rich American art lover Milo’s eye (played with great aplomb by Zoë Rainey), and whose amorous attentions are quite persuasive. The very English Jane Asher plays Henri’s French mother, who is hoping to marry him off to the lovely Lise.
The chorus numbers are truly dazzling and have all the ingredients of an old style Hollywood musical extravaganzas, while the duets, are exquisitely executed, and create the graceful romance of fairy tales.
Because of its huge sell-out success, An American in Paris has extended the run and more tickets have been released, which is good news for those who missed out the first time around.
All in all, it’s a fabulous family outing, although I suspect it may seem a little old-fashioned for the young. I was enchanted and I found myself dancing all the way home, and also full of longing for a romantic weekend in Paris!
Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7AQ
Box Office: 0845 200 7982
Official UK Website: An American in Paris
Now booking to Saturday 27 January 2018
Monday to Saturday 7:30pm
Wednesday & Saturday matinees 2:00pm until Saturday 30th September
From Wednesday 4th October: Wednesday & Saturday matinees at 2:30pm