Saturday, September 30

Little Women: The Musical – Paradise at Augustines

Little Women was the first novel I ever read, and this story holds a special place in my heart. This delightful production of the musical brought back all the joy and sorrow that I shared with these characters, all those years ago.

For a fraction of the price of the big venues, this show has everything you could possibly want. The vocal performances, acting and staging are stellar, and the performers are right there in front of you.

Hannah Childs dazzles as everyone’s favourite March sister, Jo.  Her hyperactive enthusiasm is intoxicating, and she owns the stage, leaping and swirling around like a tiny tornado of purpose. Her performance of Jo’s signature song, Astonishing, blew me away, and received rapturous applause. Jo’s tender scene with her dying sister Beth (Charlotte Smith), as they share the song Some Things are Meant to Be, broke my heart as their beautiful voices soared together. Likewise, Christine Mills, as Marmee, is superb as she sings the bittersweet Days of Plenty, where Marmee comforts Jo and explores her own grief for Beth, filling the room with complexity and love.

Anna Spence gets plenty of laughs as she captures Amy’s journey, from a vengeful child who burns her sister’s writing in a rage, to a woman who comes to appreciate her loving family, without entirely losing her immature side. Her love song with Laurie (Joe Purcell), The Most Amazing Thing, is sweet as candy and full of hope. Audrey Jones, as the outspokenly snobbish Aunt March, also provides a pleasing dose of comedy.

I loved Colin Cairncross as Mr Lawrence, the mean old grouch who gradually reveals his softer side. Every time he came on stage, with the percussion of his walking stick announcing his arrival, I was excited to see what he was going to do next.

The theatre space in Augustines was packed.  Bare Productions tend to sell out quickly, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this one. The venue is spacious, but I did find the seats somewhat uncomfortable. The venue also has a couple of pillars that can cause challenges for staging. The team did a good job of incorporating the pillars into the show; however, one of the pillars did block the view from my aisle seat on occasion. 

The show received a well-deserved standing ovation. Congratulations to Bare Productions for triumphantly bringing yet another hit show to life, and may you continue to make excellent theatre for many years to come.

Reviewer: Wendy McEwan

Reviewed: 17th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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