Thursday, 18 November 2021

REVIEW: Little Women at The Park Theatre

Jo March (Lydia White) has a small dream, to write stories and provide everything for her three sisters Meg (Hana Ichijo), Amy (Mary Moore) and Beth (Anastasia Martin). Though her societal demands make this a challenge in a world where a woman is to marry rich and powerful, relying on a man to support her. As she conquers rejection after rejection from publishers due to her unconventional stories, a suggestion to make her stories more personal may just be the answer she needs. 

To bring Louisa May Alcott’s book to life on stage would require transporting the imagination of the audience back to the period in which the story is set, of course, if the set and costumes are designed well then it’s a simple task to guess when and where we are. something that Nik Corrall exceeds in. Designing an intimate set and visually attractive costumes, remarkable feet to design both and excel at both. Considering the size of the theatre the set was both small and large at the same time, allowing the cast to move freely around the space, but creating a stunning backdrop for the many scenes. 

Though the story centres very much around Jo, who it has to be said is played with enthusiasm and brilliance by White, each scene she’s in she steals the spotlight, a powerhouse performance both in her acting and vocal ability. The show does very well to weaving in other characters at just the right time to add something extra to the show, be it their song or words. 

Examples of this are Jo’s ‘will they won’t they’ companion Laurie (Sev Keoshgerian), The girls' mother ‘Marmee’ (Savannah Stevenson) and Jo’s professor, Professor Bhaer (Ryan Bennett). The trio each have their moments at the perfect time in the show, Keoshgerian is a funny and charming Laurie whose ‘Take a chance on me’ is both comedic and endearing. He and White have undeniable chemistry throughout. Stevenson’s ‘Here alone’ and ‘Days of plenty’ are heart-wrenching and give a huge feeling of sympathy to her struggles as a mother raising children during Civil War America whilst their Father is away. Finally Bennett’s Bhaer with ‘How I am’ is seemingly a forgotten character due to less stage time but the song only reiterates his importance and also talent. 

To quote Jo’s song, it’s an ‘Astonishing’ show. Delicate and intimate with beautiful lyrics from Mindi Dickstein and music from Jason Howland with expert direction from Bronagh Lagan, though it may be Little women, the stature of this production is anything but little! 

Review by George Butler

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Circle B25 | Price of Ticket: £29.50
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