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Sunset Boulevard review: You will enjoy this touch of nostalgia and some great performances

PUBLISHED: 10:21 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:21 06 March 2018

Molly Lynch as Better Schaefer and Danny Mac as Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard. Picture: MANUEL HARLAN

Molly Lynch as Better Schaefer and Danny Mac as Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard. Picture: MANUEL HARLAN

Manuel Harlan

It was a shame as I was really looking forward to seeing “Strictly” star Danny Mac at The Regent, however for this performance he was indisposed and the role of Joe Gillis was played by Dougie Carter. It is understood that Mr Mac will be back for the rest of the run.

Danny Mac as Joe Gillis, Ria Jones as Norma Desmond and Adam Pearce as Max Von Meyerling in Sunset Boulevard. Picture: MANUEL HARLANDanny Mac as Joe Gillis, Ria Jones as Norma Desmond and Adam Pearce as Max Von Meyerling in Sunset Boulevard. Picture: MANUEL HARLAN

Sunset Boulevard is the story of the Hollywood film business and a once famous movie queen, Norma Desmond, played by Ria Jones who portrays her character with a faded grandeur that fitted the feel of the show perfectly.

Joe Gillis is a screenplay writer down on his luck that meets Norma by chance. It takes a little while to set the scene but as the story develops the relationship between the two is the central theme. Are they in love or is Joe just looking to pay his debts off?

Words are by Don Black and Christopher Hampton and, as you’d expect, the songs are very descriptive, telling the story in the lyrics and moving the scenes along.

The singing throughout is exemplary but particularly Ms Jones who makes the most of each song, centre stage. The ensemble performs with real verve and the highlights of the show are when the whole company is singing. Some of the stage sets are pretty simple but this doesn’t detract.

Danny Mac as Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard. Picture: MANUEL HARLANDanny Mac as Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard. Picture: MANUEL HARLAN

In places there is excellent use of projected visuals to portray backgrounds to the different scenes and giving a nod to the silent movies of old.

Music is by Andrew Lloyd Webber, so you know you will be hearing the melodies in your head for days, and the Sunset Boulevard Orchestra in the pit add atmosphere to each act, with soft melancholy where necessary or really swinging for the busy scenes acted on the Hollywood sets.

It is likely that you will already know some of the tunes as well; the title song Sunset Boulevard, The Perfect Year, and As If We Never Said Goodbye receive great receptions.

As you would expect the course of love does not run true and this powerful story kept the audience riveted as the story plays out. The ending saw a deserved standing ovation for Ms Jones.

Sunset Boulevard is appearing at The Regent for the rest of the week and there are still selected tickets available for most nights. You will really enjoy this touch of nostalgia and some great performances.

Read entertainment writer Wayne Savage’s chat with Ria Jones online now and his chat with Danny Mac online Thursday.

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