One of Broadway’s biggest hits in recent years, Newsies has finally landed in London for the first time ever. Set in New York City at the turn of the century, the show is based on the true story of the Newsboys Strike of 1899 a group of working-class boys who fought for better working conditions, standing up against the exploitation of wealthy publishing tycoons. The story was made into a Disney film starring Christian Bale before being adapted for the stage, becoming a Broadway sensation
With no expense spared, Morgan Large has truly transformed the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre for Matt Cole’s fresh version of the show. From the huge gangways to the West Side Story-style scaffolding, this production means business from the moment you step inside the auditorium. The cast emerges from their hiding places throughout the auditorium as they dance, march, and sing through the aisles, weaving between the seats which are divided into different areas of New York such as Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, making you feel part of the show.
Lucy Casson and Jo Howes have done a stellar job with the incredible cast, whose energy and enthusiasm from start to finish was unmatched. You could really feel the bond and love the cast had for one another, seamlessly moving together as one, the brotherhood between the cast was strong, making their interactions enjoyable to watch. With so much happening at once, from flips, tussling and plenty of laughter, the cleverly choreographed chaos of the original Broadway production is undoubtedly mastered in this London version. This is one show you’ll want to see again just to take all the little moments in.
Known as a show with dancing at its core, Matt Cole’s choreography certainly didn’t disappoint. The incredibly talented cast leaped, danced and twirled with incredible ease, from tap dancing on tables to swinging from the ceiling, the choreography or more so the effortlessly energetic ensemble was certainly the star of the show.
Michael Ahomka-Lindsay lead as the charming Jack Kelly, leading the group of paper boys in their fight for justice, having such a fierce ensemble certainly made his performance even more powerful. Other standout stars included Bronté Barbé as newspaper heiress Katherine Plumber, who wonderfully played off of the energy of her male counterparts. The same could be said for the Brooklyn newsies, a fierce all-female group which was a nice change from the original. A special mention must go to Ross Dorrington as Splasher, whose sensational dancing was the icing on the cake of this incredible evening.
All in all, Newsies is a rousing tale of coming together to fight for what is right, a message emphasised by the perfectly in-sync cast who didn’t miss a beat. Although the real story is one of struggle and hardship, the ensemble shows how collective action can be a force to be reckoned with. For a show that’s full of fun and bound to impress, Newsies is the show for you.
Newsies is showing at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre until 30th July. You can buy tickets here: https://newsiesthemusical.co.uk/
Reviewer: Gemma Prince
Reviewed: 8th December 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★