Review Roundup: Four stars for Women On The Verge

Review Roundup: Four stars for Women On The Verge

Updated On: May 1, 2018
By Nicki McIntyre
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    Based on Pedro Almodóvar's 1988 film, Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown the musical opened on London's West End last night to four star reviews from the Daily Mail, The Independent, The Telegraph and The Times.

    Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail called it “Magnifico!... A stylish hoot – a fiesta of PMT with monstrous, ticklish caricatures and, ultimately, a heart very much in the right place.”

    “A cheerful, life-affirming lament about sisterly solidarity in the face of rotten, beastly men,” Tamsin Greig's “stage presence proves irresistible,” and Anna Skellern is “excellent.”

    With four stars, The Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish called it “an absolute joy of an evening, built paradoxically on the unhinging despair that almost all of us experience in facing rejection, heart-break and the jealousy that comes with love betrayed.”

    “Thanks to a smart book by Jeffrey Lane and taut direction from Bartlett Sher, the gag-count is much higher than in the 1988 film... From the start, there's movement, fluidity, unpredictable vitality. The mad has been put into Madrid in an opening dream sequence that sets the sleekly designed, brightly coloured scene, complete with hand-clapping, foot-stamping, guitar-strumming and a black female matador in pink socks.”

    Tamsin Greig makes “an impressive musical debut” and Hadyn Gwynne is “little short of hilarious”, in addition to “fantastic work” from Anna Skellern - “this is a real Madrid tonic.”

    The Independent's Paul Taylor also gave the production four stars, praising it as “gloriously camp yet seriously heartfelt… it's no wonder that Almodóvar has given this exhilarating version his blessing.”

    The role of the taxi-driver is “charmingly portrayed and resonantly sung” by Ricardo Afonso, and Haydn Gwynne is “bliss as the bonkers Lucia.” But the show's “masterstroke” is the casting of Tamsin Greig, who is “tremendous” in the central role as the jilted Pepa.

    “The music, performed by a visible six-strong band, has a distinctly Spanish flavour with its mambo rhythms and a stabbing energy that powerfully projects the emotional agitation of the characters.”

    The Guardian's Michael Billington called it “screwball fun,” which boasts a “sparky performance” by Tamsin Greig, with “strong support” from Anna Skellern and Seline Hizli.

    Bartlett Sher's newly simplified staging keeps the action moving with commendable fluency, Anthony Ward's design hints at the garish colourfulness of the movie's vision of Madrid and the costumes evoke Almodóvar's fashion-magazine fascination with the female form.”

    Henry Hitchings of the Evening Standard described Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown as “a musical that leaves one feeling well entertained.”

    “Crucial to its appeal are stellar performances from Tamsin Greig (the show's “emotional core”) and Haydn Gwynne, who is “fierce, poised and sad as Ivan’s formidable wife Lucia… There's also lovely work from Richard Afonso as a taxi driver with whom Pepa shares her deepest intimacies.”

    At London's Playhouse Theatre until Saturday 9 May, book your Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown tickets today!

    All photos by Darren Bell for ATG.