by Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
A fantastic performance by Lisa Maxwell
My head was buzzing after leaving this performance of End of the Rainbow at the Belgrade Theatre. Lisa Maxwell is just fantastic as Judy Garland, and she really shines with the support of her excellent co-stars.
Judy Garland died of a drugs overdose on June 22nd 1969 in London. While the idea of watching a portrayal of a real person’s life deteriorate, doesn’t sound like a thrilling prospect, it is handled by the actors with real warmth, passion and sincerity.
The glam set switches from being a hotel suite to the Talk of the Town theatre in London with a few swift movements.
Joining Lisa Maxwell, are just THREE other actors, Birmingham Dame, Gary Wilmot as her loyal friend and pianist Anthony, Sam Attwater as Judy’s soon-to-be fifth husband Mikey Deans and Simon Pontin as a retro BBC interviewer.
When I was younger, both Lisa Maxwell and Gary Wilmot were sketch show actors and my main memories of both of them are putting on silly voices and daft outfits. To see them in such a serious play with music is just great.
Gary Wilmot shows the stiff upper lip of the of the British with ease and is a perfect foil to Lisa’s brash loud Judy Garland. Having seen him in panto for two years at Birmingham Hippodrome its great to see him in such a different role.
Sam Attwater is very comfortable as the driven manger Mickey out of his depth and struggling to maintain order. He’s an actor to watch for the future!
Simon Pontin gets his moment as the BBC interviewer with his David Frost 1960s style.
From laugh out loud moments, to deeply sad sections it was really lovely to be invited to see this. If you get chance you must see it too!
End of the Rainbow is at Belgrade Theatre Coventry until Saturday 27th February and then tours the UK extensively until July 2016 including, Grand Theatre Wolverhampton, The Lichfield Garrick and New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham.
I was invited by the Belgrade to see End of the Rainbow for free. My views a honestly held and I really enjoyed myself.