Review - Honeymoon In Vegas (London Palladium)

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra have done it again! After the success of their last two musicals in concert, their track record is bolstered further by their most recent offering, Andrew Bergman and Jason Robert Brown's Honeymoon in Vegas. For the first time LMTO's founder and principal conductor Freddie Tapner offers up the baton to a guest maestro, and who better to lead an orchestra in a concert performance of one of Jason Robert Brown's most recent Broadway outing than the main man himself?

Maxwell Caulfield, Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill 
Honeymoon in Vegas is nothing if not good old fashioned entertainment. Based on the 1992 film starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicholas Cage, it follows the exploits of Jack, a man haunted by the ghost of his marriage averse mother, as he tries desperately to pluck up enough courage to propose to his girlfriend Betsy. After an ill-fated game of poker sees Jack down $58,000, he's forced to offer up Betsy's company to smarmy gambler Tommy Korman in lieu of payment, but when Korman whisks Betsy off to spend a weekend in Hawaii Jack must do whatever it takes to win her back. It's a madcap romp featuring ghostly apparitions, shady henchpeople, and more skydiving Elvis impersonators than you can shake a stick at, and of course all of the adventure is tied together by the music! 

The London Musical Orchestra delivers a polished and professional performance in every respect. Made up of a combination of experienced orchestra members as well as passionate musicians in training, it's clear that the entire cohort share a passion for playing, which seeps naturally into the atmosphere. The dazzling orchestra perform with gusto, and are joined onstage by an exciting cast of West End vocalists, who help to bring the concert to life. In the role of Jack, Arthur Darvill proves himself yet again to be a real musical talent. After his high profile run as Guy in Once the Musical both on Broadway and in the West End a few years ago it's great to hear him performing musical theatre material again. Hopefully it won't be long until he's back on stage in a starring role once more. Meanwhile in the role of Betsy Samantha Barks is given ample room to show off her incredibly versatile voice. Shining in songs like Anywhere But Here and I've Been Thinking, she leaves audiences wondering if there is anything she can't do. 

LMTO's Honeymoon in Vegas also boasts a scene stealing supporting cast including Rosemary Ashe, who makes the most of her scenes as Jack's deceased mother Bea, Maisey Bawden as sultry Hawaiian guide Mahi, and Simon Lipkin, who doubles as a corny lounge singer and an overly enthusiastic Elvis impersonator. Lipkin brings down the house twice with the impressively sung When I Say Vegas as well as hilarious Elvis parody song Higher Love, in which he is accompanied by the entire male ensemble, who lip curl and hip thrust like their lives depend on it! 

It's such a treat to hear the music, and dialogue, of such an irresistibly joyful musical coming to life, if only for one night, on a West End stage. The orchestra's passion is contagious, the vocalists are first rate and it's such a thrill to see Jason Robert Brown conducting his own work. For musical theatre lovers there really is nothing else to rival the London Musical Theatre Orchestra, and with two further concerts lined up in the coming months there's plenty for fans to look forward to. Given how quickly they have achieved notoriety it's going to be a real thrill to see what other projects may be on the horizon. 

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