Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

Titanic The Musical

by Peter Stone and Maury Yeston

Performed: November 2010

Titanic The Musical by Peter Stone and Maury Yeston

 

Review by Dave Stacey

TITANIC – THE MUSICAL

Two world wars and the conquest of space have not been enough to dim our interest in the great disaster of 1912, when the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic struck an iceberg and took around 1,500 people to a watery grave. The flow of newspaper and magazine articles, television documentaries and films has continued to flow, including the gritty realism of the Kenneth More masterpiece A Night to Remember and the more recent Leonardo DiCaprio love story disguised as history. Books abound, such as the work by Beryl Bainbridge, Every Man for Himself, which deftly blended the novelist’s art with the craft of the historian.

Yet who would have thought that this terrible tragedy would form the basis of a musical? Such a work was born in America in the late 1990s. Titanic – The Musical has music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and book by Peter Stone and was first produced on Broadway.

An excellent production of the show is being presented all this week by an unusually large cast of Burton’s Little Theatre Company at the Brewhouse, and is well worth seeing. Yeston has achieved his aim of giving a symphonic slant to the music and our local artistes produce some outstanding singing.

The basic story is of White Star Line owner Bruce Ismay (played by Steve Farmer) pressing Captain Smith (Craig Atkinson) to go at record-breaking speed and then blaming him for the disaster. The captain, a Lichfield man looking forward to retirement after his voyage, fights back but in the end accepts final responsibility. The interchanges between these two and designer Thomas Andrews (Leon Ratcliffe) are truly dramatic.

Then there are moving scenes telling the true story of Ida Strauss (Jane German) who refused a lifeboat place rather than leave husband Isidor (Peter Clemson).

I especially enjoyed the singing of Mitch Corner as stoker Frederick Barrett and the thoroughly believable characterisation of first class steward Henry Etches (Phil Robinson). Strong performances were given by Katie Haywood as Alice Beane, the second class passenger intent on breaking the rules so as to mingle with millionaires and aristocrats in first class, and Jodie Durbin, Emma Rose and Scarlett Dixon as third class passengers, vocal and melodic in their hopes of a new life in America.

The show, directed by John Bowness, continues until Saturday evening with a Saturday afternoon matinee.

John

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