Scatter of Opinion

Dancing with Death

Death Takes A Holiday
Peter Stone & Thomas Meehan
Maury Yeston
@Charing Cross


Expectations: 4/5
Reality Rating: 3/5
Fidget Factor: 0.4

A Wild Weekend with Death

Death is in the house. On the stage of Charing Cross Theatre, the shadow of Death takes a human form. Instead of a horrifying embodiment of the grim reaper, we are faced with a charming, songbird of a young man. Maury Yeston and Thom Southerland have paired up once again to create a moving, magical musical.

Death Takes A Holiday 1 Chris Peluso (Death) Zoe Doano (Grazia Lamberti) Photo Scott RylanderIt’s not every day you fall into a love triangle with death as the third angle. Grazia, newly engaged to Corrado and wild with excitement, soon has a change of heart when a handsome prince comes to visit. With more power than royalty, Death disguises his dark side behind the appearance of Prince Sirki. Will the house of Lamberti be safe in the hands of Death?

Similar to Maury Yeston’s previous score in recently produced, Titanic the Musical, this production takes on a beautiful mix of enchanting musical numbers. The music holds the same magical feel as Fox Animation Studios’ Anastasia. If you grew up with this film, both the story line and score of Death Takes A Holiday will appeal.

Death Takes A Holiday 10 Zoe Doano (Grazia Lamberti) Scarlett Courtney (Daisy Fenton) Helen Turner (Alice Lamberti) Photo ScottThe cleverly intertwined wit in Yeston’s lyrics is highlighted in the songs through Director, Thom Southerland’s keen attention to detail; gentle gestures and facial expressions give away more than meets the ears. Chris Peluso does a marvelous job of breathing life into each of Death’s songs, a sense of joy emenates as he sings. Previously seen in Yeston’s Titanic, Scarlett Courtney once again throws out a fantastic performance. Singing in one of the best numbers of the night, ‘Finally To Know’, Courtney is joined by Zoë Doano and Helen Turner for a penetrating scene. The dramatic song, Roberto’s Eyes, is powerfully sung by Samuel Thomas – revealing the pain and sorrow of losing a friend.

Unfortunately clunky chairs steal the show several times throughout, twirling in the air, being brought on, off, on and off again. The gloomy set cosntantly wobbles as it is pushed in and out of the space, letting down what otherwise is a very professional production.

If you’re a fan of alternative theatre, this unfamiliar theme of death paired with enchanting melody is one to see this winter!

Q&A – Mark Shenton interviews Maury Yeston

Yeston’s score draws the audience to this production. Through his interview, it is clear Yeston has always loved musicals and is ardent about bringing new work to the stage. Keen to support young writers starting out in their careers, Yeston offered out advice on how to begin and develop. A critical piece of guidance was to stay true to your ideas, and follow the obvious – an idea may seem glaringly evident to you but has most likely not occurred to anyone else. As an individual we can each offer something unique, there is no need to try and fight to be something you’re not.

Strongly believing in the need for different adaptations of his work, ‘create a new version otherwise you may as well make it a book or a film and be done with it’ – Yeston shared delights of the multiple ways he has seen his production of Nine performed over several years. Yeston is currently working on a new musical, perhaps Charing Cross Theatre will get to see yet another Maury Yeston premiere.

Click for Tix: @Charing Cross

▦ Photos – Courtesy of Scott Rylander

Time: 2 Hours 20 Mins
Running:  16 JAN 17 ► 4 MAR 17

♥ Thank you to Kevin Wilson for the invite
♥ Thank you to Greg for a death cocktail

Death takes a holiday

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