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Kneehigh Theatre Company's adaptation of Michel Legrand's 1964 French film musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg opened at the West End's Gielgud Theatre this week (22 March, previews from 5 March), where an eclectic range of guests included the composer himself and special guest, the legendary Liza Minnelli, who once recorded a version of the Oscar-winning song "I Will Wait for You".

Here are what some theatre goers in the audience had to say about The Umbrellas of Cherbourg:

“I was very pleasantly surprised by Umbrellas – beautifully staged and seamlessly performed, it never drags or becomes over-wrought, and there’s a delight around every corner. Loved it.”

“I thought The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was a charming musical with a sweet love story and an inspiring overall message that life goes on or c’est la vie! The fantastic set and fabulous costumes capture the setting of France during the 1950s/ 60s. The character of Maitresse played by Meow Meow really stood out as the alluring, sexy and captivating narrator of this quirky production. ”

Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a very original and unusual musical which makes it even more fascinating. The main storyline is conventional but the creative direction makes it more appealing. It has love, humour, beauty, eroticism, great music and lyrics… and all this gets better as the play develops. I loved all the stage changes and the use of the space to theme the different acts. I also thought the use of puppets was magical. The main love song is absolutely beautiful and supported by the incredible voices of the main two characters. However, the main star is definitely Meow Meow who steals the whole show with the act led by the song ‘Without You’.”

“I loved The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – it’s a bit like watching one of those cool French Stella Artois adverts made into a musical. Right from the start, when the ever-watchable Meow Meow makes her introduction, you’re pulled into a world of mid-century small-town France where people mambo with helium balloons, struggle to sell umbrellas for a living, and fall in love at first sight. Carly Bawden, who plays Genevieve, has a gorgeous voice, perfectly suited to the part. It’s a quirky romantic musical that’s sung nearly all the way through (like Les Mis), so it’s probably not to everyone’s taste, but I think the talented cast, innovative staging and gorgeous, soaring score make this a really refreshing new West End show.”

Umbrellas of Cherbourg was the perfect accompaniment to a spring evening in London. Light, pretty, charming and lyrical I loved the whole 1950s French ambiance of the play. Meow Meow’s introduction and fillers gave it an injection of neo-burlesque sass and the clever use of sets meant it was a delight to watch. Pitch-perfect.”

Judging by Liza's beaming face after the show she enjoyed the show too!

Book The Umbrella of Cherbourg tickets online now

[posted by Louise, 24/103/2011]

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