Review: Sunset Boulevard at the Bristol Hippodrome

Posted on Jan 10 2018 - 5:55pm by Claire Herbaux

Go. Go, go, go is all there is to stay.

There are so many facets and wonderful elements in this show it is difficult to name them all, but let’s start with the star of the show – quite literally.

Ria Jones comes onto the stage and she cannot finish her opening song before the public breaks out into applause. Her performance was simply stunning. Within the first few notes of her song she had us all drawn into her story.

Sunset Boulevard is about actress Nora Desmond (Ria Jones), who has been out of the business for a while. She was the star of silent films but things have changed and she is looking for a comeback.

When young screenwriter Joe Gillis (Dougie Carter) shows up at her house running from debt collectors, she hires him to help with her screenplay.

He hopes he can manipulate her to turn her screenplay into something good. But he can’t. Living with Nora and her valet, Max von Meyerling (Adam Pearce), he soon realises she lives in a fantasy world and all he can do is go along with her madness…

But this brings us to the next wonderful surprise of the evening – Max von Meyerling: What an astonishing voice and performance!

In between the strong performances of Ria Jones and Max von Meyerling and beautiful dreamy songs such as Girl Meets Boy and New Ways to Dream comes the stage design. With movies being at the heart of the story, the lines between 1950s film stage and musical stage are blurred, transporting you into a different world of art and movies.

Without giving away the plot, I will tell you I was hurting inside in the last scene, almost in tears and still in a trance when I got up for the standing ovation. I stood up, clapped, and felt I had just entered the musical, I was Norma Desmond’s audience, I saw this woman taking a bow in front of me, looking out onto her audience, and I understood what Max had done for her all those years.

Their performance and they story will stay with you on your journey home and beyond.

Sunset Boulevard runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday January 13. Tickets are available here.

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