Review - Titanic (Charing Cross Theatre)

Right now at the Charing Cross Theatre, a spectacular, heart wrenching musical is playing every night until August 6th. That musical is Titanic, directed by Thom Southerland. The musical centres around the doomed maiden voyage of the iconic ship of dreams, and tells the stories of multiple passengers and crewmen from various different economic classes, many of whom existed in real life. Each of the characters are engaging and interesting in different ways, and as a result, the story focuses less on the phenomenon of the sinking, and more on the relationships between each of the characters. Of course, from the beginning of the story, the audience's knowledge of Titanic's fate mars the more upbeat, breezy moments, making the whole musical a rather emotional one. 
Photo credit - Scott Rylander
Titanic features an impressive ensemble of actors, who each play a multitude of different characters. However, thanks to David Woodhead's gorgeous costume design, this use of multiroling is never confusing or alienating. Notably, Claire Machin and Peter Prentice are heartbreaking as Alice and Edgar Beane, a second class married couple struggling to come to terms with their status, and Victoria Serra is engaging as Kate McGowan, a tenacious young Irish woman. Meanwhile Niall Sheehy and Matthew Crowe's duet The Night Was Alive is a real vocal highpoint in the show. A truly first rate cast has been assembled for this production, and that in itself is thrilling to see.

Staging such an epic show in such a tiny theatre seems like it would be pretty much impossible, however, this production is designed so ingeniously that the audience is always aware of the ship's grandeur, even in purposefully intimate scenes. David Woodhead's set design is simplistic yet multifaceted, meanwhile Howard Hudson's lighting design perfectly compliments the piece's archaic tone.

Peter Stone's book maintains a sense of nervous tension throughout, without resorting to distasteful elements designed to shock the audience. However, the horrors of the real life event are not understated, and a sickening sense of uncertainty and ultimately helplessness is laced through the second act masterfully, and will leave the audience with a lump in their throats.

Titanic at the Charing Cross Theatre is undoubtedly a five star production, and the perfect way to kick off Thom Southerland's tenure as artistic director of the Charing Cross Theatre.

Visit the Charing Cross Theatre website for more details, and to purchase tickets.