Review: Pretty Woman The Musical

Ore Oduba gives a five star performance

in this fun-loving musical rom-com

As one of the 1990s best loved rom-com films, Pretty Woman’s latest offering as a stage musical landed at Milton Keynes Theatre last night and, judging by the audience reaction, it looks like becoming a huge hit all over again, writes Alan Wooding.

     There was certainly a strong feeling of nostalgia as we entered the auditorium yet many among the audience were not even born when the film hit the big screen.

      Basically it’s a ‘boy-buys-girl’ storyline with a hint of Cinderalla’s rags to riches exploits. Sex worker Vivian Ward plies her ‘trade’ along Hollywood Boulevard and is picked up by Edward Lewis, a handsome billionaire who just needs a partner for an evening soirée.

     Amber Davies takes on Julia Roberts’ iconic role as Vivian, dressed in a tight lycra skirt, sexy thigh-high boots and a blonde wig while Oliver Savile is great as Edward in the role originally played by Richard Gere. His song Freedom was certainly one of the highlights in the thoroughly  enjoyable opening act. 

     Both leads had excellent voices. Vivian’s This Is My Life and I Can’t Go Back and together with Edward's Long Way Home and You And I in an even better second act, met with rapturous applause. 

     There were particularly strong performances from Natalie Paris as Kit De Luca, Vivian’s prostitute side-kick. I also loved Noah Harrison as clownish hotel bellboy Giulio who is romantically linked to his manager Mr Thompson, brilliantly played by former BBC Television’s sports reporter and 2016 Strictly Come Dancing champion, Ore Oduba. 

     Oduba has certainly taken to 

the stage with aplomb since his

Strictly days and especially in this particular musical. He also

 appears as Happy Man, his song and dance routine shared with Giulio in the Rodeo Drive number being absolutely sensational.

     I was particularly delighted to listen to newly-penned music and lyrics courtesy of Canadian pop superstar Bryan Adams and Jim Vallence as I’d half expected to hear a ‘jukebox-style’ mash-up by simply resurrecting a handful of popular songs. 

     There's also a wonderful aria performed by Lila Falce-Bass and Josh Damer-Jennings (aka Violetta and Alfredo) from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La Traviata along with a brief taster of Roy Orbison’s Oh, Pretty Woman at the beginning of Act Two – and that was the right song for the finale as Ore Oduba and Natalie Paris took the lead to rapturous arm-waving applause!

     Special mention also of Chomba Taule as polo-playing shipyard owner David Morse. His business is saved from asset-stripping after he meets Vivian who changes

Edward’s mind who then agrees to fund a new American cruise liner. 

     The Ensemble comprises: Becky Anderson, Rebekah Bryant, Ben Darcy, Andrew Davison, Sydnie Hocknell, Elly Jay, Rachael Kendall Brown, Michael Kholwadia, Joshua Lear, Stuart Maciver, Victoria Rachael McCabe, Eleanor Morrison-Halliday, LJ Neilson, Annell Odartey and Curtis Patrick.

     The six-piece orchestra under musical director Griff Johnson were quite magnificent while the clever set design, slick choreograph, costumes and lighting were equally impressive. 

     Pretty Woman The Musical is a show which certainly lifts the spirits and it plays Milton Keynes Theatre until this Saturday (23 March) with tickets available from £13 by calling 0844 871 7615 or online at ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes

* All production photographs of Pretty Woman The Musical courtesy of Marc Brenner.