Passion - Ruthie Henshall

Stephen Sondheim’s Passion Reviews at the Hope Mill Theatre starring Ruthie Henshall ★★★

A reviews round-up for The Hope Mill Theatres production of the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical Passion.

Michael Strassen’s (Pacific Overtures; Company; Assassins) production of Passion has opened at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester.

Exploring the consequences of intense passion and obsessive adoration, Passion is a ravishing and thought-provoking look at the lengths people go to for desire.

Olivier Award winner Ruthie Henshall (Les Miserables; Chicago; Billy Elliot) takes the lead role of Fosca, alongside Dean John-Wilson (Steven Spielberg’s Masters of Air on Apple TV; Aladdin) as Giorgio, the man who finds himself at the heart of a passionate love affair, and Olivier nominated Kelly Price (What’s New Pussycat?, A Little Night Music) as Clara.

Rounding out the cast are Adam Robert Lewis (The Phantom of the Opera), Charlie Waddell (South Pacific), Danny Whitehead (Wicked), Dalton Harris (The X Factor), Ray Shell (Starlight Express, The Lion King), Steve Watts (As You Like It), and Tim Walton (Matilda The Musical).

The creative team includes Sundeep Sani (Movement Director),  Yshani Perinpanayagam (Musical Director), Paul Schofield (Musical Supervisor), Elin Steele (Set & Costume Designer), Charlie Morgan Jones (Lighting Designer), Dan Samson (Sound Designer), Rob Kelly CDG/CSA (Casting Director), Paul Callen (Associate Director) and Ed Zanders (Orchestrator).

Passion has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by James Lapine.

Passion runs until 5 June at the Hope Mill Theatre

Reviews for Passion will be updated as they come in.

Average Critics Rating

The Guardian

"Thrilling singing in a rousing Sondheim reboot"

"Ruthie Henshall and Kelly Price shine in a sophisticated and intimate staging of Stephen Sondheim’s 1994 musical"

"the singing is excellent and the off-stage band bright and strident, creating a suitably impassioned show."

Mark Fisher, The Guardian
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The Times

"a Sondheim revival for completists only"

"There’s nothing wrong with Michael Strassen’s gossamer production: Ruthie Henshall does herself justice in an unsympathetic role and the scaled-down arrangements for just five musicians are a fine match for such an intimate venue."

"The problem lies with the work itself. "

"As a psychological study, it’s wildly implausible, while the music is Sondheim at his most arid. "

"A thoughtful, intelligent revival in short, but this remains an oddity that only Sondheim completists will want to argue over."

Clive Davis, The Times
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The Stage

"Passionate and well-paced, but overwrought"

"Beautifully realised, Ruthie Henshall-starring revival of Sondheim’s horniest musical that, while full of fire, lacks spark"

"There is passion here, the band is tight, with fantastic musical direction from Yshani Perinpanayagam and there is, as always, swirling elegiac lyricism and a stirring score in Sondheim’s music. The desire is aflame from every corner of the stage, illuminated in a rich, intelligent design by Charlie Morgan Jones, but spotlighting that lustful hunger so fully leaves no shade or nuance. There are no dark corners or barely concealed longing to show how these characters burn for each other and are ultimately consumed by the flames – everything is out in the open. While love needs no logic, a fire does need a spark."

Francesca Peschier, The Stage
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📷 Main photo: Passion - Ruthie Henshall

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