REVIEW: Titanic The Musical, Opera House, Blackpool

Niall Sheehy in Titanic The MusicalNiall Sheehy in Titanic The Musical
Niall Sheehy in Titanic The Musical
Sharing a piece of theatre which holds precious memories with others is a risky business - what do you do if they don't appreciate it in the same way?

It was a risk I was willing to take on Titanic: The Musical, a show I performed in a decade-plus ago which was a truly special experience for those involved.

Thankfully it paid off and my friends agreed it’s a fine piece of theatre which does great justice to a key moment of 20th century history.

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The tragic sinking of the Ship Of Dreams is not necessarily a natural source for a musical, but it’s not the first nor will it be the last time such an emotive story has been told through music.

The ensemble cast of Titanic: The MusicalThe ensemble cast of Titanic: The Musical
The ensemble cast of Titanic: The Musical

While some may mistakenly wait for the appearance of Jack and Rose, the lovers of the hit movie Titanic, this 1997 musical is firmly focused on the real lives of those who set sail to fulfill dreams in America - including Lancashire lads, band master Wallace Hartley from Colne and Charles Lightoller from Chorley.

The ensemble cast of 24 switches between roles and classes from scene to scene, which flow seamlessly as the tide under the controlled steering of director Thom Southerland, with a well-used minimal set allowing the audience to focus on the actors.

Claire Machin as social climber Alice Beane brings a deft comic touch with warm heart, while Greg Castiglioni as Thomas Andrews has a gentle presence until his final ‘Vision’ number as the boat succumbs to the frozen waters.

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And alongside Philip Rham and Simon Green, as Captain Smith and the ship’s owner Bruce Ismay, Castiglioni completes a powerful trio for The Blame.

Maury Yeston’s music and lyrics for this largely sung-through show are a masterpiece, and every word sung rang crystal clear in the Opera House, bringing spine-tingling and hair-raising moments throughout.

And the closing scene pays emotional tribute to the 1517 people who lost their lives on that tragic night in April 1912.

One of the best pieces of theatre we will see in Blackpool this year.

Until Saturday.

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* The Opera House is offering tickets for tonight’s show for £10. Those with previously booked tickets for tonight’s performance are able to exchange them for another day in light of England’s World Cup semi final match.