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Review: The Grinning Man (Trafalgar Studios)

Tuesday, 12th Dec 2017  

The Grinning Man Review - Trafalgar Studio One

This critically acclaimed new musical directed by Tony Award-winner Tom Morris (War Horse), book and lyrics by Carl Grose and a haunting original score by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler, is based on the classic novel by Victor Hugo (Les Misérables) – The Grinning Man premiered at the Bristol Old Vic and now transfers to the West End for a limited season only at Trafalgar Studios.

This is a luscious Grimm Fairy tale with more than a hint of German expressionism. If you like your musicals gothic in tone and with a devilish sense of humour, this one’s for you. Endlessly inventive and bursting with imagination, the Grinning Man creates a fusion of German fairy tales and Dickensian London.

This is a musical with a difference. It is hauntingly beautiful from start to finish with great vocals from a wonderful multi talented cast. Set in a travelling fairground attraction that has settled just off Trafalgar Square, Grinpayne is on a quest to discover the events that lead to his horrible disfigurement as a child that leaves him sporting a huge smile. This leads him down paths that many would have hoped he would not tread and to revelations that some will go to great lengths to keep secret.

There is so much to marvel at in this production. From Julian Bleach’s wickedly funny fool Barkilphedro to the outstanding puppetry from the team that helped to create the multi award-winning War Horse to the bold and brilliant sets by designer Jon Bausor (Bat Out of Hell) that capture the gothic sense of theatrical magic and at the centre of the story, outstanding performances by Louis Maskell as Grinpayne, Sanne Den Besten as his blind love interest Dea and Julie Atherton’s kooky Queen, The Grinning Man is a rare treat in the West End It is darkly funny, different and full of delights. A Macabre sceptical where you will be glad you paid to have a peek.

Article filed under: Theatre News | Show Reviews |


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