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Review: Pretty Woman The Musical at Sunderland Empire
What's on
May 2024
Reading time 2 Minutes

We head to Sunderland Empire to see Love Island winner Amber Davies step into Julia Roberts's knee high boots, and discover that Ore Oduba hasn't lost his Strictly moves

Here's why you shouldn't miss your chance to get tickets to Pretty Woman The Musical (that'd be a 'big mistake… big… huge!').

Pretty Woman is a cult classic starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Taking on these much-loved roles is no mean feat, but with this musical taking the West End by storm we’re excited to see what all the fuss is about.

We’re transported back to the late ’80s with the track Welcome To Hollywood, where Vivian (Amber) meets Edward (Oliver Savile, who has starred in Wicked and Les Mis). Soon Vivian’s life is turned upside down when money is no object – but can they bridge the gap between their worlds?

With all the romance of the film but a toe-tapping theatrical soundtrack featuring original music and lyrics by Grammy Award-winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, accompanied by Strictly-style choreography, this musical follows the story we know and love but adds so much more. 

While we love the neon lights of Hollywood Boulevard, the swift set changes seamlessly send us to the luxurious Beverly Wiltshire where Strictly champion Ore swaps his ‘Happy Man’ role for Mr Thompson. Happy Man (although a minor figure in the film) acts as the lovable narrator in this production while Mr Thompson stays true to the movie acting as an uncle-like figure for Vivian. Both roles show Ore’s brilliant range and as Mr Thompson finds plenty of opportunity to show off his dancing shoes, even claiming to previously be a ballroom champion (*wink, wink*). Giulio (the hotel’s bellboy) played by Noah Harrison brings plenty of comedic moments to the stage which have the audience laughing throughout.

When act two begins we’re almost treated to Roy Orbison’s Oh, Pretty Woman (surely what every audience member has been waiting for) but Ore puts paid to that – we’re told it’s coming… but later. The soundtrack is so good we don’t mind, and we’re particularly in awe when we watch a show within a show as Vivian and Edward go to the opera. Clever lighting hits the stage as Edward sings in between the operatic voices of Violetta (Lila Falce-Bass) and Alfredo (Josh Damer-Jennings). The applause for Violetta’s high-note is fully deserved, even if it does slightly muffle Edward’s singing.

Amber has Julia Roberts’s goofy and loveable Vivian down to a tee (helped by brilliantly accurate costume changes – including the iconic red dress) but she adds her own flair to the character with fabulous choreography. Each actor is offered their own solo (in some cases more than just one) and Amber’s voice really shines when she belts out I Can’t Go Back. A special mention should go to SIX queen Natalie Paris (playing Vivian’s friend Kit De Luca) – wow, what a voice! 

As the show comes to an end we hear Oh, Pretty Woman start to play and Giulio appears wearing a sandwich board with the lyrics printed on – as if we don’t know them word-for-word! It’s a feelgood end to a fantastic show. Now we want to watch the film for the hundredth time. 

Pretty Woman The Musical plays Sunderland Empire until Saturday 8th June. 

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