Gone With The Wind The Musical First Night

Jan Leeming

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Gone With The Wind - The Musical - First Night

Date: 23rd April 2008


Was fortunate to be invited to the premiere and took my son, Jonathan with me.

Nothing is worse than arriving at a premiere looking like a damp lettuce leaf.

 I have to plan my forays into London. So the plan was that I'd drive in, park the car at Trafalgar Squate, taxi to Jonathan's workplace and then taxi to the Theatre - the New London in Drury Lane.

 Fortunately the weather was with us, so taxis were in abundance.  It was quite strange walking down the red carpet with my handsome son and having the cameras whirring and the flashlights popping - just like the old days when I read the News.


 I couldn't conceive how they could transfer Gone with the Wind to the stage - but Trevor Nunn did it superbly.  Despite thoroughly enjoying the show, I don't really think one can conceive of it as a Musical.  Years ago I played Natasha in War and Peace and this is how I think Gone with the Wind should have been treated.  Nunn used various characters as Narrators to fill in the gaps historically and the whole treatment worked very well. 

 The Stage Show was faithful to the film almost down to the last detail - but MUSICAL it ain't.  I can't remember a single note from the show - despite ovations on several occasions - mainly for the songs sung by the Black members of the cast (is one allowed to say that) - they were show-stoppingly stupendous.

 I thoroughly enjoyed the show and did use the lace hankie in my bag which had replaced the usual tissues but as a Musical, I don't think so.

 Darius who played Rhett was absolutely superb - although about 20 years too young to play the part, he was thoroughly convincing.  He had that superb mastery of voice which saw him fly from octave to octave effortlessly - such a change from what I call “the Andrew Lloyd Webber Nasal Voice' where everything comes out at a high pitch sounding like a rather twangy instrument.  Sorry, but although I am not a singer I can appreciate the nuances of the Human Voice.  Too many of the youngsters today rely on that pushing from the neck and throat instead of sending up the volume from the stomach  - and correct intercostal diaphragmatic  breathing.  Enough of the technicalities.

 If Darius were 30 years older or I were 20 years younger - WOW - he really has got the Wow factor.  That it not to overlook the leading lady - she was eerily like Vivienne Leigh and a totally accomplished singer and actress.

 If there are any irregularities in the typing, it's due to my second glass of Merlot and the cat telling me off for not being here last night giving him his treats - don't get excited - I was sleeping on the floor at my son's flat!!!!!!!

 All in all, I would say - Do go and see Gone with the Wind - especially those of us of an age to remember it's launch.  It's a tremendous production - very enjoyable but I woulnd't put it in the category of a Musical.  And I  would be surprised if it has a long run which is shame as it really is a Superb production with many fine performaces.  I can't think of a weak point in the casting.

 I will certainly go to see it again - A GREAT THEATRICAL EVENING.

 Love Jan

 Having seen some of the damning crits today - FRANKLY MY DEAR I DON'T GIVE A DAMN - just GO and see it.  My opinion of critics is that they are there to denigrate.It's like the story of the Emperor's New Clothes - it they say he's wearing a wonderful suit, people go to the event, if they say it's not so good, people stay away.  GONE WITH THE WIND is an excellent theatrical experience.  Don't go expecting a hummable musical - but if you loved the Film and want to see a stage version - then GO - regardless .   

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.