Gone with Wind

03-197207XX-10‘Gone with the Wind’
Drury Lane Theatre, Tel: 01-836 8108

About a year ago there was a real collector’s item on record issued of the Japanese cast album of SCARLETT. Now the show has come to London under its better known title of GONE WITH THE WIND and confirms what one first suspected on hearing the Japanese album that this is the first big musical comedy without a score. Sure the list has 37 items on the programme but you try and recall any of them after you leave the theatre.

For those avid collectors of shows on records the wait for the ‘original cast album’ looks like being a long one as there are no signs of a record being released after 2 months of the shows arrival in town.

Somehow they have managed to condense the entire long film plot into the show’s just under 3 hours running time. All the well remembered moments are there, even including the burning of Atlanta which is handled quite well. There’s even a horse standing patiently on stage throughout the burning scene who somehow manages to ignore the gunfire, smoke and general mayhem that takes place around him. One presumes the animal must be both blind and deaf for he hardly moves a muscle.

Most of the scenes are played out of doors, probably to save money on interior scenes. For all that it is still a costly production with all the trimmings. The dancing is pleasant to watch, and so are the costumes, and if you really want to enjoy a proper singing voice the is Isabelle Lucas as Mammy.

I’ve saved the best till last, and June Ritchie is quite something in the role of Scarlett. Whether it was intentional or not she resembles the late Vivien Leigh so much facially that at times even her voice seems to take on the same low sing-song range that endeared her performance to millions. Miss Ritchie looks lovely, has a fair singing voice and she acts up a storm. At the finish one tends to forget the lack of tunes and remember only her dazzling performance as Scarlett.

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