Olivier-Award winning actress Tracie Bennett and Emma Williams star in Mrs Henderson Presents….The Musical at the Theatre Royal Bath. With only 3 post opening performances scheduled this production is undoubtedly being tested for a future in the West End.
Mrs Henderson Presents…The Musical is based on the BAFTA and Oscar winning British movie by Stephen Frears which starred Judi Dench as Laura Henderson, the late Bob Hoskins as Vivian Van Damm, Will Young as Bertie and Kelly Reilly as Maureen.
The show is directed by Terry Johnson (La Cage Aux Folles) and features music by George Fenton – who composed the music for the film – and Simon Chamberlain, lyrics by Don Black and a book by Terry Johnson adapted from Martin Sherman’s screenplay. Choreography will be by Andrew Wright (Barnum, Singin’ in the Rain), with set design by Tom Shortall, costume design by Paul Wills (American Buffalo, Barnum), lighting design by Ben Ormerod and sound design by Gareth Owen.
Mrs Henderson Presents played a strictly limited season from 14 August 2015 until 5 September 2015 at Theatre Royal Bath.
The critics have been particularly enamoured with the production though no doubt any future West End transfer will see a few tweaks to the show and possibly casting.
Here’s what the critics thought.
UPDATE 9/10/15: Mrs Henderson Presents will transfer to the West End for a limited run in February 2016 at the Noel Coward Theatre.
"Full frontal nudity, tastefully staged and artfully lit…….even so, this is essentially a tame and creaky adaptation of a tame and creaky movie. The safely risqué jokes and schematic plot are aimed squarely at fans of clunky, old-fashioned entertainment in the spirit of Calendar Girls or The Full Monty. And while there's clearly a large potential audience for this kind of mildly titillating, Lloyd Webber-ized populism, Johnson's production has too little of the subversive mischief and joyous lust for life it purports to celebrate.”
"The music also undersells Bennett's vocal prowess, as she delivers most of her lyrics in a crisp, semi-spoken manner"
"Defiantly British. Tracie Bennett captures the dauntless spirit of Mrs Henderson"
"A shot in the arm for the British musical… a defiantly patriotic piece with a delightful score, rousing ensemble and first-rate performances"
"PHWOARSOME! Unashamedly entertaining, often deliciously funny; I have not emerged from a theatre feeling quite so cheerful for a long time. It was beautiful."
"A terrific, authentically British-flavoured new musical gets off to a brilliant regional start, for which a future life is guaranteed"
“Terry Johnson’s relentlessly inventive production…. Lively and crowd-pleasing.”
"Full-frontal nudity (tastefully done), frustrated young love, old-age regret, soaring showtunes, Blitz spirit, magicians, chorus girls and chorus boys, music hall one-liners, wartime tragedy and, oh, did I mention full-frontal nudity (tastefully done)?"