The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg Reviews - Gielgud Theatre

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Venue Information
Gielgud Theatre

Gielgud Theatre
35-37 Shaftesbury Avenue
London
London
W1D 6AR

Seating Plan

Directions

Directions
(3mins) Take Shaftesbury Avenue along the side where the famous illuminated signs are. The theatre will be on your left about 100 metres along.

Show Information
Booking From: Saturday, 5th March 2011
Booking Until: Saturday, 21st May 2011
Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday 3pm
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 8pm
Show Status: production_closed
Review Summary
Average Rating: 4 out of 5 stars based on 4 review(s)

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Latest Review: "Sorry Minou I have to disagree with you. In my opinion the movie is one of the worse thing I..."

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    Saturday, 19th Mar 2011 by frenchie

Sorry Minou I have to disagree with you. In my opinion the movie is one of the worse thing I have ever seen and somehow thanks to the Kneehigh magic the show is just the most beautifull thing.

I think it just proves that they really created something with it as people either love it or hate it... and that is the mark of true creation.

I would advise everybody to ignore all critics and see the show to form their own opinion as it is trully original and nothing like it has ever been done.

    Friday, 18th Mar 2011 by Boxoffice Review

Kneehigh, one of the UK's most innovative modern theatre companies, once again excite and inspire with their latest fantastically chic offering. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a triumphant adaptation of the iconic French film from 1964. This story of love, loss and endurance combines beautifully interesting visuals with wonderful storytelling techniques. In a classic story of first love we meet 17-year-old Geneviève (Carly Bawden) who sells umbrellas at her mother’s little boutique in the town of Cherbourg, France. 

Geneviève is madly in love with Guy (Andrew Durand), a young and charming car mechanic, and the two are desperate to marry.  However, when Guy is drafted and sent to fight in Algeria he has to tell a heartbroken Geneviève that he must leave both her and Cherbourg for two years. The pair share one last night together and vow to wait for each other. However, after discovering she is pregnant with Guy's child Geneviève must choose between waiting for his return or following her mother’s advice and accepting a marriage offer from Roland Cassard (Dominic Marsh), an affluent diamond dealer.

Kneehigh are known for breaking down the barrier between performer and audience and here it is done expertly by the use of Maitress (well known cabaret act Meow Meow), our host, who frames the action beautifully in a number of cabaret acts. Her opening skit, where she literally enters through the audience, works terrifically well as an introduction with humour and audience participation and a French lesson thrown in for good measure.  By the time the iron shutter, acting as a “curtain”, finally comes up the audience are relaxed and ready to be transported the world of Cherbourg.

The fact that we are genuinely interested in the characters is testament to both Kneehigh’s strong and talented cast and Emma Rice’s imaginative but clear direction. The two leads are endearing and believable as the young couple and Joanna Riding has both sass and vulnerability as Madame Emery, Geneviève’s controlling mother. The ensemble are also most impressive, especially the three sailors; Gareth Charlton, Chris Jenkins and Aki Omoshaybi . They act like guardian angels changing and sometimes forming part of the set and carrying the actors around the stage as well as delighting us with the delicious dance numbers.

Lez Brotherston’s set is both mesmerising and eclectic; a climbing frame of iron walkways combines with  miniature model buildings, floating neon signs, balloons and of course umbrellas in bright colours. Visually, it is simply stunning but more importantly it skilfully allows the whole piece to flow beautifully and seamlessly. Michel Legrand’s orchestrations are delivered skilfully by the onstage band. The interweaving of voice and instrument has a beautiful effect as although the show is sung through it is not a musical in the formal sense, it just so happens that the dialogue has a melody and an accompaniment.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a poignant tale of first love and the aftermath of the heartbreaking realisation that this love has been lost.  More than just a romance it is a realistic fairytale of endurance and adjustment, proof that we don’t always live happily ever after but that time heals, we grow and we survive.  It is story telling at its best. Put simply, I loved it. 

Bruce Guthrie

    Thursday, 10th Mar 2011 by Minou

Sorry, I really wanted to love this one, as "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" is one of my all-time favourite films, but this was a major disappointment. How anyone can  turn such a wonderfully colourful and romantic story into something so dull, and at times even vulgar, is beyond me.

    Sunday, 6th Mar 2011 by graham civil

Wonderful feel good musical, 30 years since  the last production at the Phoenix, that was brilliant, this one is far superior, I urge you to see this, you will not be dissapointed, thank you for a lovely evening.

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