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Pretty Woman The Musical Review

In a time where it feels like every 1980s and 1990s movie is getting a stage musical adaption, Pretty Woman The Musical arrives in Edinburgh for a two-week run. The musical captures the movie's spirit but feels more like a good time-out vibe than a coherent story with good character development and storytelling. Most of the audience will want a show where they can escape and have a great time, and this certainly delivers this, but this makes the show more feel-good over substance and removes a lot of the realism of the original movie.


Photography by Marc Brenner.


Based on the 1990 movie Pretty Woman starring Julia Robers and Richard Gere as Edward Lewis and Vivian Ward, the musical's plot is very similar to that of the movie. Edward develops a relationship with Vivian, a Hollywood sex worker after hiring her for a week to accompany him to work meet-ups and social events. With help from Edward, she goes through a weeklong transformation finally embodying a Beverly Hills elite.


Photography by Marc Brenner.


Whilst the musical keeps very close to its source material, several moments build some added fun into the show. A hotel worker called Gulio, played by Noah Harrison, is a minor role that adds some feel-good energy and has a brilliant dance number in the second part of the first act. Also, the show employs a narrator to bring the audience into the story in the form of The Happy Man, played by Ore Oduba of Strictly fame. Ore also takes on the role of Mr Thompson, the manager of the hotel in which Vivian and Edward are staying. Ore Oduba excels in his roles and shows off his comedic chops with witty dance numbers and funny lines throughout the show.


On to the show’s leads, Amber Davies, of Love Island and now Theatre fame following on from principal roles in London’s West End in Back to The Future and 9 to 5, plays Vivian Ward. Amber gives the music of the show the vocals required and can deliver the energy and uplifting personality shown by Julia Roberts in the movie. Also, Oliver Saville plays the role of Edward Lewis. Oliver's vocals are well suited for the role, but the part of Edward could be further developed in the writing. Although his vocals are great, the musical doesn’t do for the character what the film did brilliantly. The ensemble all bring to the stage great energy and make a middle-of-the-road show, still come alive and allow audiences to have a brilliant time.


Photography by Marc Brenner.


Creatively, Jerry Mitchell goes full out with his choreography delivering a visually great show with clever movement and energy. The script sometimes felt a lot of filler between the story's plot points and leaned on feelgood over cohesive storytelling. Visually, the show captures the feel of early 1990s Hollywood full of optimism and excess. David Rockwell’s scenic design is vibrant and full of life. Tom Rogers's costume design enhances each character, giving a similar feel to the movie but a renewed theatrical life with brighter, more vibrant colours. Musically, Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance have nailed the fun uplifting nature of the show, but the songs aren’t too memorable with no real standout numbers that you leave the theatre humming in your head. That is apart from the iconic Roy Orbison song, Oh, Pretty Woman, which acts as the finale to the curtain call.


Photography by Marc Brenner.


Pretty Woman The Musical is the iconic 1990 movie brought to life with feel-good energy, impressive set design and costumes, and it is a night out you will likely have a great time at. If your expectations are more than this, in terms of character development, coherent plot, and memorable music, this show slightly misses the mark. But overall, it's a fun night out at the theatre.


This show has been rated ★★★


Pretty Woman The Musical runs at Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday the 13th of April. To book tickets visit: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/pretty-woman-the-musical/edinburgh-playhouse/

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