Little Women: The Musical ★★★★ Park Theatre | Nov 11 - Dec 19, 2021

Little Women: The Musical in Allan Knee's 2005 Broadway adaptation with music and lyrics by Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein overflows with charm and exuberance. Louisa M Alcott's 1868 semi-autobiographical novel is well known from numerous filmed versions: as they grow into adulthood the March girls develop different traits under the loving eye of their mother, Marmee. In that role, Savannah Stevenson has two of the best songs in this musical and she delivers them with perfect inner passion. Jo, independent and feisty, carries much of the show and she is played and sung exceptionally well by Lydia White. The three other daughters perform delightfully with Mary Moore almost stealing the show as Amy. Her duet with Sev Keoshgerian's bouncy and endearing Laurie is terrific. However, it is when the piece becomes sentimental, as it must do, that it really hits the target. Beth's death scene, following as it does her gorgeous duet with Jo, is so simply realised. Professor Bhaer has a beautifully wistful number early in the second act, and Ryan Bennett plays the role to perfection. Nik Corral's spectacular set, ambitiously lit by Ben M Rogers, is extremely effective and Bronagh Lagan directs with great respect for the original. Unfortunately, the thrust stage occasionally makes sight lines difficult, especially in some of the excellent ensemble numbers. This musical isn't quite perfect and it's rather long, but with so much to recommend it, the show is certainly well worth seeing – not least for the heartfelt quality of the performances.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Pamela Raith.

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