joe and norma

Dominic Serland as Joe Gillis and Sophia Ford as Norma Desmond.

Sunset Boulevard

Lichfield Garrick


LICHFIELD Garrick Youth Theatre have delivered up a classy performance of Sunset Boulevard, the life of the faded movie star, Norma Desmond.

Her dream of making a spectacular return to the silver screen with the help of Joe Gillis, a would be screenwriter, is the basic scenario of this well-known Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, with book and lyrics by Don Black & Christopher Hampton.

But twists and turns of fate thwart the plans of the ageing actresJoe and Norma clutching to each others, who is convinced she still has talent, beauty and screen appeal. ("I AM big! It's the pictures that got smaller!)

Sophia Ford as Norma Desmond gives a strong performance both with her acting and singing, her powerful voice delivering emotional renditions, especially the number With One Look in act I.

Dominic Sterland convincingly creates the character of Joe Gillis, a lovely performance, with a beautiful voice, full of expression.

Supporting leads, Nathan De Giorgi as Max von Mayerling, Emma Charnock as Betty Schaefer, Will Stevenson as Artie Green, Hudson Mitchell as Sheldrake, Ollie Willett as Manfred and Alfie Kentesber as Cecil B DeMille all added to the professional presentation. Well done you guys!

The delightful ensemble with excellent singing, choreography and enthusiastic punch gave the show lots of pizazz. Clever use of back projection and revolves on stage sides, moved the scenes along at a smooth pace.

What a talented company! They certainly deserved the warm applause from the appreciative audience and if you want to enjoy the show, directed by Richard Poynton, choreographed by Jessica Lambert and with Musical Director, Oliver Rowe - it runs to 08-10-16

Elizabeth M Smith


And down the street


BY a remarkable coincidence two former members of the Garrick Youth Theatre had been appearing in a West End professional version of Sunset Boulevard as the latest crop of talented youngsters were ready to open at the Garrick.

Katie Kerr and Siobhan Dillon appeared alongside Glenn Close in the English National Opera Company’s revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical at the Coliseum – just as so many others have moved into show business careers in the past 30 years.

Judging by the quality of the 40-strong cast in the youth theatre’s latest production, some of the current players will surely make it on to the professional stage, too. This is not an easy show to stage, but the youngsters coped with remarkable confidence and considerable skill.

The tale is set in 1949 Hollywood where struggling script writer Joe Gillis fails to get work at Paramount Studios and, desperate to escape car possession agents, drives into a garage at the palatial but dilapidated mansion of former silent movie star Norma Desmond.

He strikes up a friendship with the ageing woman who couldn’t make it into the talkies yet still believes the public want her and she can return to the big screen . . . a dream that ends in tragedy.

Sophia Ford is magnificent as the deluded Desmond, singing the big number, With One Look, superbly, and she receives great support from Dominic Sterland, excellent as Gillis who grasps the opportunity for a comfortable life helping the old star, though destined to pay a high price.

Outstanding performances, too, from Nathan De Giorgi, playing Max, Desmond’s loyal butler with a big secret, and Emma Charnock (Betty Schaefer, a young script writer who gets close to Joe).

And full marks to an outstanding orchestra under musical director Oliver Rowe who contribute immensely to the success of this musical.

Directed by Richard Poynton, with Jessica Lambert’s choreography, Sunset Boulevard continues to shine until 08.10.16.

*Pity the behaviour of a tiny minority of teenagers in the Wednesday night audience didn’t match that of their peers on stage.

Paul Marston 


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