An American in Paris
The Gershwin inspired romantic musical An American in Paris was a performance to remember! Val Baynton reports back from this outstanding show.
For this Readers’ night, which took place at the Dominion Theatre in mid-August, I joined 20 GTO readers and their guests and, from the moment we were handed our complimentary lavish An American in Paris programmes, we knew we were in for a treat!
As the curtain rose we were immersed in the life of Paris as it is liberated at the end of the Second World War and with a high- energy, seven-minute long dance sequence, the tale of hope and love emerging from the ruins of the ravaged city began.
The cast was exceptional – not just for their singing of the beautiful and nostalgic Gershwin songs but for the outstanding quality of their dancing. Leanne Cope who played leading lady, Lise Dassin, studied at the Royal Ballet School before becoming a member of the Royal Ballet Company – as did many other dancers in the ensemble. And the need for this background became clear as, the show’s brilliant choreography is enchanting, elegant and amazingly expressive. The final sequence – a ballet in its own right – is truly magical!
The show’s main theme is the love that the ‘three musketeers’ – Ashley Day (Jerry Mulligan), Haydn Oakley (Henri Baurel)) and David Seadon-Young (Adam Hochberg) – each feel for Lise. Their quest for Lise’s love is made more complex by Milo Davenport’s, played by Zoë Rainey, love for Jerry and Madame Baurel’s, superbly acted by Julie Legrand, memories of the past.
The fast pace of life in Paris is conveyed by the imaginative and rapidly changing sets created with pertinent historical references and enhanced by innovative digital techniques. There’s a clever use of the cast to move props on and off the stage and the costumes – all made in Paris – are simply exquisite.
After the show we were thrilled to meet four members of the cast to discover insights into how they prepared for the show in an exclusive question and answer session. This was a huge privilege and many thanks to Zoë, Ashley, Haydn and David as well as Company Manager Howard Jepson for meeting with us all. This Readers’ Night was organised through ticketing agency Encore, who provided programmes, interval drinks and excellent seats.
“We thought the whole production was excellent with wonderful dancing, brilliant scenery and, of course, great acting. The Q&A session with the cast was a real bonus – it was fascinating to hear their own thoughts and experiences – what lovely, unassuming people they were, it was a pleasure to meet them!”
PAT St Augustine’s Socialites, Essex
“I was quite overwhelmed by the whole show – the dancing, singing, and sets were wonderful!”
JEAN Barnet U3A, Barnet
“A very enjoyable evening with the added extra of getting to chat with the cast at the end. As disabled visitors, we appreciated the attention and help we received from the staff of the theatre – with a member of staff assigned to look after us. The recent rebuild of the Dominion Theatre is a great example of art deco and we recommend it for anybody with a disability due to its accessibility and great staff.”
BRIAN and JOHN Bushey and Watford Phab Club, Hertfordshire
“So beautiful and awe-inspiring.”
DEBBIE CP Meet group, Essex
“An American in Paris is one of the most diverse shows currently playing in the West End. Gershwin’s music blends perfectly with the graciousness of the ballet-like scenes, topped with songs reminiscent of a bygone era that captures the audiences’ imagination. The perfect show for all ages.”
SERGIO CICALO Senior Trade Sales Manager, Encore Tickets