Whiter Shade of Pale
| By Kay Johal
Running strictly for a 12-week limited period and set in the atmospheric Charing Cross Theatre, The Woman in White is showing off its gothic side in a wonderfully intimate space. This is the premiere of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and David Zippel’s, albeit reread and revised, score. The set is masterfully simple and the singing, together with the harmonies, are sublime. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are in for an easy, peaceful night at the theatre, there will be lots of jumping in your seat. If you have a slightly nervy disposition, make sure you have someone to hang onto!
Wilkie Collins’ dark Victorian tale is brought to life once again after its original outing some 13 years ago. Walter Hartright is the art teacher to two delightful young ladies, having met the Woman in White who is dying, quite literally, to tell him her secret. Telling them of his eventful journey, the young ladies resolve to work out what the suspense is all about whilst at the same time falling madly in love with their handsome tutor.
Enter the treacherous Sir Percival Glyde played by Chris Peluso together with his partner in crime, Greg Castiglioni in the role of Count Fosco the comedic timing of which is highly uplifting, bringing light where there is shade in what could be referred to as a slightly depressing tale, but as with all tales, there is an undercurrent theme which, in this case, is all about women. I felt thoroughly entranced watching how this story unfolded and captivated by the strong interaction between the female leads.
It has an aura of Phantom of the Opera about it and this is perhaps where Lloyd-Webber’s genius shows as prominently displayed in the powerful ballad “Evermore Without You”. The wedding scene is dark and unnerving and the score has even darker undertones to it. To balance it out “You Can Get Away with Anything” was the showstopper for me.
After the saccharine of Christmas has long worn off, The Woman in White will resonate. It is an enthrallingly chilly tale and should be seen whilst the tickets are hot off of the press.