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REVIEW: Pretty Woman, the musical (UK Tour, Glasgow)

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

14 November 2023

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

⭐⭐⭐


Amber Davies as Vivian Ward and Oliver Savile as Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman: the musical, UK Tour. Photo credit: Marc Brenner.

"Welcome to Hollywood! What's your dream?"


Classic 90's rom-com 'Pretty Woman' gets the stage musical treatment and brings the hit film and beloved characters to life for a new generation. Following successful runs in London's West End and on Broadway, 'Pretty Woman: the musical' had its Scottish Premier at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow last night.


When struggling Hollywood Boulevard hooker Vivian meets suave, wealthy businessman Edward, they make a deal for her to be his 'escort' for the week. Against all odds, they fall in love. It's a modern-day Cinderella story set in Beverly Hills; but both Cinderella and Prince Charming "screw people for money."


I had my concerns over the storyline: Do women of today really wish for a Prince Charming to rescue them? Is that what we should aspire to? But Vivian is undeniably independent and clever from the start. She's vulnerable yes, but the writers have made some effort to show us that despite that, she is strong and empowered near the end. (No spoilers!)


The plot remains a fairytale nonetheless and as such it may appeal to some whilst offending others. But if you can put that aside and just go along for the ride, the new musical is full of nostalgia and all the iconic scenes from the film. "Big mistake, huge!", the opera, Vivian's glee at discovering all the perks of Edward's hotel suite - all here and all faithful enough to please fans. The opera scene in particular is a glorious highlight of the show.


Pretty Woman the musical UK Tour. Photo credit: Marc Brenner

The film was a box office hit largely thanks to the superb, funny and charming performance of Julia Roberts as the proud, but poor, prostitute Vivian. In the musical we have the wonderfully talented Amber Davies (Back to the Future, 9 to 5) in the lead role who is equally as spirited and appealing. Amber has great stage presence, enviable comic timing and a super voice; She absolutely makes for a convincing leading lady. The audience was rooting for her from the start.


Amber Davies in Pretty Woman the musical UK Tour. Photo credit: Marc Brenner

Oliver Savile is a dashing Edward, and he certainly does justice to the musical numbers with a gorgeous, rich voice. But he doesn't have a whole lot to work with beyond that - the character is pretty flat, and there isn't any obvious chemistry between Edward and Vivian.


Ore Oduba (Rocky Horror, Strictly Come Dancing) is magnetic as Mr Thompson, the manager of the prestigious Beverly Wiltshire hotel (and other characters.) It's a great role that really showcases his appeal, and there's a crowd-pleasing nod to his time on Strictly Come Dancing too. (Although how well that works when someone other than Oduba is playing the role, I'm not sure.)


But stealing the show in a powerhouse performance as Vivian's good friend Kit de Luca, is Natalie Paris (Six, Les Mis.) Her voice! Her confidence! Everyone needs a reliable friend like Kit and Natalie nails every line, every note. She's a dream performer, and this character brings a much-needed rock element to the otherwise saccharin soundtrack.


Bryan Adams' score is unfortunately forgettable. The songs were perfectly pleasant at the time; one or two stronger than others, but heading home after the show I'd have been pushed to name a single one (other than the title track of course.)


Noah Harrison and Natalie Paris in Pretty Woman the musical UK Tour. Photo credit: Marc Brenner

This production boasts a fine supporting cast. Noah Harrison is a delight as Giulio, the bumbling bellboy. His mannerisms and incredible, joyous talent reminded me so much of the late, great, Michael Jeter, it was a pleasure to watch him shine. And Sydnie Hocknell (Bonnie and Clyde) is such a firecracker. It was great to see her have a solo number (that she aced!) as well as form a part of the wider company.


The show I saw was the Scottish premier and opening night at a new venue for this touring production, so perhaps some teething issues are to be expected. But this is the third venue on tour, and I counted at least five times when mics weren't raised when they should've been resulting in the audience missing an actor's opening words. Most criminal of which was during Sydnie's aforementioned solo.


Pretty Woman, the musical will be a theatrical event and a much anticipated show for many fans of the film. So, it is unfortunate that the set and scenery seems rather sparse and stingy. A touring show this may be but shows like 42nd Street prove just what can be achieved on tour. There are plenty of stunning costumes and all of Vivian's iconic outfits to admire though. The wigs are fabulous too, especially Vivian and Kit's spectacular dos.


Overall, it was a mixed bag for me. Pretty Woman: the musical is undoubtedly a nostalgic, unconventional, romantic fairytale that will bring joy to so many fans of the much loved film. There is a lot to enjoy, and I had a lovely night at the theatre, but the musical can't compete with the original film in terms of charm, impact and enduring appeal.


⭐⭐⭐


📸 Production photography: Marc Brenner


*Scroll to the end for more of my musical theatre reviews featuring some of these performers*

 

🌟 Pretty Woman: The musical plays at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow until Saturday 25th November and then continues to tour across the UK. 🌟


PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL SCOTTISH LISTINGS


TUESDAY 14 – SATURDAY 25 NOVEMBER 2023

💗 GLASGOW, THEATRE ROYAL

ON SALE NOW

Starring Amber Davies as Vivian Ward and Ore Oduba* as Happy Man/ Mr Thompson

*Ore Oduba is not scheduled to perform Tuesday 21 – Saturday 25 November 2023


MONDAY 15 – SATURDAY 20 JANUARY 2024

💗 ABERDEEN, HIS MAJESTY’S THEATRE

ON SALE NOW

Starring Amber Davies as Vivian Ward and Ore Oduba as Happy Man/ Mr Thompson


TUESDAY 2 – SATURDAY 13 APRIL 2024

💗 EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE

ON SALE NOW

Starring Amber Davies as Vivian Ward and Ore Oduba as Happy Man/ Mr Thompson


Amber Davies and Oliver Savile in Pretty Woman the musical UK Tour. Photo credit: Marc Brenner

 

Creative Team


PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL features original music and lyrics by Grammy Award winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, a book by Garry Marshall and the film’s screenwriter J.F. Lawton, it is directed and choreographed by the two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell.


PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL has scenic design by David Rockwell, costumes by Tom Rogers from the original Broadway designs by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Philip S. Rosenberg, sound design by John Shivers, hair design by Josh Marquette, and music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Will Van Dyke. 101 Productions, Ltd are the Global General Management Consultant. Direction recreated by Dominic Shaw.

 

🌟 REVIEW: Pretty Woman, the musical (UK Tour, Glasgow) Amber Davies, Oliver Savile, Ore Oduba, Natalie Paris🌟


🎟️ Disclosure: I was invited to review this show and received a complimentary ticket in exchange. Whether I am invited or not has absolutely no impact on my reviews or star ratings.


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📧 For media and review requests contact Lisa_InTheTheatre@outlook.com

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Lisa in the theatre. Scottish theatre reviewer. UK theatre blog. Glasgow Theatre. Edinburgh Theatre. Scotland theatre.

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