Arts

Review: Titanic The Musical proves sceptics wrong at Grand Opera House

Titanic The Musical – everyone on stage did a tremendous job and they are to be congratulated.

REVIEW

Titanic The Musical

Grand Opera House

Belfast

THE iceberg hits with a powerful roar, the lights go out and it’s the interval – and it’s riveting.

Part one of Titanic the Musical is a frantic build-up to the ship's maiden voyage, the rich and famous on board first, then the gentry and finally the emigrants setting sail for a better life in America. The noise is raucous, the singing tremendous and the atmosphere permeates into the audience as passengers arrive through the auditorium.

Some people were sceptical – a musical about the Titanic? Sacrilegious. Well, they soon realised they were wrong. This is a stunning show and sticks to the facts and proves the point that truth is stranger than fiction.

The passengers had one thing in common: the joy of being on board the great and glorious ship, a city in itself, the legend they were promised.

Throughout the production you could hear every word said and sung, the small band sounded like a symphony orchestra and the lighting evoked so many moods, from the heat of the boiler room to the romance of the Palm Court. The set is minimal, just white railings set high above the stage, a set of white iron steps were moved from side to side to allow entrances to and from various parts of the ship, an ingenious design.

As the first act unfolds the tension rises, excitement gives way to panic: iceberg ahead.

It’s almost a pity to break the concentration with an interval but we’re soon back on board as the water levels rise. Real characters depicted by great actors say their goodbyes, officers and gentlemen hang behind as the upper-class ladies take the life boats. The question asked by Thomas Andrews, Bruce Ismay and Captain Smith is, who’s to blame? Tempers reach fever pitch.

The actual sinking of the ship is breathtaking and very emotional for cast and audience. Some of the actors were visibly moved as they took their curtain call.

Above all the singing, the music and the lyrics by Maury Yeston, are all outstanding. I don’t mention individual actors simply because everyone on stage did a tremendous job and they are to be congratulated.

:: Until Saturday, April 28. Details and booking at goh.co.uk

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