From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity reviews at the Charing Cross Theatre ★★★

A round-up of reviews for the revival of Stuart Brayson and Tim Rice musical From Here to Eternity at the Charing Cross Theatre in London.

From Here to Eternity is running at Charing Cross Theatre until 17 December 2022.

Directed by Brett Smock, From Here to Eternity is adapted from the classic novel by James Jones, and features music by Stuart Brayson, lyrics by Tim Rice and a book by Donald Rice and Bill Oakes.

The cast of From Here to Eternity includes Jonny Amies (Hairspray) as Maggio, Jonathan Bentley (Mamma Mia!) as Prewitt, Adam Rhys-Charles (Curtains) as Warden, Carley Stenson (Hollyoaks) as Karen, and Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Desmonda Cathabel as Lorene.

The cast also includes Leonard Cook (The Play That Goes Wrong) as Judson/Colonel Delbert/cover Holmes, Kyerron Dixon-Bassey as swing, Sarah Drake (Ordinary Days) as Female U/S Lorene and Mrs Kipfer, Dominic Adam Griffin (Identical) as Soldier/cover Warden and Bloom, Cassius Hackforth as Soldier, Robin Hayward (Heathers) as Soldier/cover Prewitt, Callum Henderson (9 to 5 The Musical) as Soldier/cover Judson and Colonel Delbert, James Mateo-Salt (What the Ladybird Heard) as Soldier/cover Galovitch, Rhys Nuttall (Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens) as Galovitch, Jack Ofrecio (Boys will be Boys) as Bloom, Jaden Oshenye (The Bodyguard) as Soldier, Eve Polycarpou (Strictly Ballroom) as Mrs Kipfer, Alan Turkington (Antony and Cleopatra) as Holmes and Joseph Vella as Soldier/cover Maggio.

The creative team includes of Set & Costume Designer Stewart Charlesworth, Musical Direction & Orchestrations Nick Barstow, Choreographer Cressida Carré, Lighting Designer Adam King, Projection Designer Louise Rhodes-Brown, Costume Supervisor Lucy Lawless, Casting Director Jane Deitch, and Production Manager James Anderton.

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Average Critics Rating

From Here To Eternity reviews

The Stage

"Sharper, grittier, more intense"

"Compelling musical treatment of James Jones’ award-winning novel"

"In Smock’s gritty traverse staging, everything seems amplified. The belting chorus of G Company bellow their boredom and frustration. Cressida Carré’s testosterone-fuelled choreography echoes regimental manoeuvres with platoon efficiency, and Stuart Brayson’s score comes into its own, thanks to new arrangements and orchestrations from musical director Nick J Barstow. The focus is sharper, the atmosphere more oppressive, and there are some exceptional performances."

"By taking the show back to the drawing board, the creative team has solved many of its problems. There’s barely a misstep in Smock’s formidable production: it has the energy of a prizefight, the pathos of doomed romance and the tension of a ticking bomb."

(Not credited), The Stage
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The Times

"Tim Rice’s Pearl Harbor musical fights again"

"... Rice’s son Donald has joined Bill Oakes to co-write the book, a few songs have come and gone, Stuart Brayson’s music remains inventive and alluring and varied. Now as then, though, that sense of variety — rock’n’roll, blues, Hawaiian guitars, disco rock, nice chords all round — goes hand in hand with a show that struggles to impose its own identity on to its sprawling source material."

"Rice’s inventive but mature work helps make a show that is always diverting but never quite snowballs into more than the sum of its parts and never quite convinces you this story makes best sense as musical."

Dominic Maxwell, The Times
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What's On Stage

"The Tim Rice-Stuart Brayson musical is back on the London stage"

"It provides a rousing, histrionic night in the theatre, but only intermittently manages to suggest why Tim Rice (lyrics), Stuart Brayson (music), Bill Oakes and Donald Rice (book) thought this story would make a decent musical."

"Stuart Brayson can certainly craft a catchy tune and the score works best when the music turns bluesy or anthemic, although it's more reminiscent of the gargantuan pop operas of the 1980s and 1990s than evocative of the 1940s when the show is actually set"

"I'm not convinced From Here To Eternity really needed reviving, but audiences who miss Saigon and fancy a break from Les Mis but still want to be bombastically belted at, may well have a wonderful time."

Alun Hood, What's On Stage
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The Guardian

"Guns n’ poses in a well-drilled musical"

"Tim Rice’s lyrics are the most striking aspect of a crisp production which can also feel heavy-handed"

"Brett Smock’s tight production is certainly an improvement on the 2013 London premiere. There’s an intimacy and intensity to proceedings, despite Donald Rice and Bill Oakes’ fractured book. Everything feels crisp, well-drilled and focused, although there are one too many projected images of the lapping ocean – perhaps in a nod to the famous 1953 film adaptation of James Jones’s novel."

"The ensemble is muscular, musical and committed. The performances aren’t hugely subtle, but they’re not helped by a script riddled with cliches."

Miriam Gillinson, The Guardian
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The Telegraph

"Tim Rice’s musical sidesteps the famous surf frolic but delivers on the song’n’dance"

"This reworking of James Jones’s novel skims over the iconic beach scene and somewhat lacks momentum – but at least the musical elements work"

"Working to a revised and considerably leaner version of Donald Rice and Bill Oakes’s book, Brett Smock’s production marginalises the affair between Adam Rhys-Charles’s conflicted Warden and Carley Stenson’s Karen Holmes for the visceral cut and thrust of army life, with all its casual racism, violence and homophobia, in the week leading up to the Pearl Harbor attacks."

"Yet the show still struggles to find a sufficiently propulsive plot, or, indeed, cast particularly fresh insight into the hothouse aggressions of military fraternity. The spoken dialogue is far less eloquent than Rice’s lyrics, meaning that few characters swim into sufficient psychological focus."

"But Smock’s production itself, with its sinewy choreography and strong sense of soldiers as both brothers and perennial outsiders, does bring out the best in Stuart Brayson’s muscular, if slightly too jolly mash-up of swampy blues, swing and jazz."

Claire Allfree, The Telegraph
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Daily Express

"A damn fine bit of kit"

"Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson's musical received a lukewarm reception on its London premiere in 2013. This new production which debuted in the US in 2016 is lean, mean and stripped to kill."

"Brayson’s music keeps faith with the period - blues, jazz, torch ballads - and is well integrated into the martial milieu. The atmosphere simmers with barely suppressed violence and not-at-all suppressed sex."

"A well-drilled Brit cast under US director Brett Smock convinces as US soldiers who can sing and do push-ups at the same time. Eve Polycarpou is all cynical swagger as the local brothel madame Mrs Kipfer, Desmonda Cathabel’s fatalistic prostitute Lorene and Jonny Amies as smartmouthed Maggio add weight and texture to the ensemble."

Neil Norman, Daily Express
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📷 Main photo: From Here to Eternity. Photo by Tristram Kenton

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