Pretty Woman @ The Palace Theatre – palm trees, leg warmers and curly perms

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Photography: The Palace Theatre

Based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved rom coms, the travelling tour of Pretty Woman: The Musical has finally landed in The Palace Theatre in Manchester.

Edward Lewis (Oliver Savile) enters the stage in a suit broadcasting his big-shot businessman credentials, as 1980s Hollywood comes to life with a flock of palm trees, leg warmers and curly perms. Vivid neon signs light up the stage as the characters dance, with Kit (Natalie Paris) and the Happy Man (Ore Oduba) keeping the staging upbeat throughout. Paris holds the spotlight with her outstanding vocals and Strictly star Oduba shows off his background in professional ballroom dancing with some slick moves. 

‘Something About Her’ shows a more sensitive side to Edward as he starts to fall in love with Vivian (Paige Fenlon). Saville plays Edward’s hard shoulder brilliantly, while also allowing a softer side to sneak through. He offers a convincing Prince Charming character as he ends up saving his princess from the streets. 

Act Two brings love and a magical operatic scene. Violetta (Lila Falce-Bass) and Alfredo (Josh Damer-Jennings) bring sheer passion to the stage, filling the Palace with their tremendous voices, with background dancers magnifying the impact. Vivian and Edward watch on from an intricate raised booth representing a box at the opera, fitting the scene to perfection.

Fenlon erupts emotion from every line and gesture, perfectly capturing being lost in Vivian’s complicated lifestyle. With Julia Roberts as the original leading role, it was always going to be a tricky part to live up to, but she succeeds, playing her character with such fun and brilliance. Her voice shines, too, especially on ‘Anywhere but Here’.

The audience congratulates the excellent performance with huge cheers. The signature song ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ is performed on a bass guitar, continuing the snippet from the beginning of Act Two, completing this phenomenal show.

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Amy Corringham

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