Two long years after it launched on Broadway, I am ecstatic to say that An American In Paris has finally made its way to this side of the Atlantic, making its debut in London’s West End last week.
Based on the 1951 Oscar-winning film of the same name, the Broadway version of the show won four Tony awards during its run and the West End production, which has made its home in the Dominion Theatre, looks set to follow that same success.
A visual spectacular with a host of brilliant musical numbers performed by the overwhelmingly talented cast, An American In Paris is most definitely one to watch, but if you’re still not convinced then here are five reasons why you should check out the show that has everybody talking:
1. It’s absolutely beautiful
From the moment David Seadon-Young steps onto the stage for the show’s opening number it is clear that this is going to be a performance unlike any other. The ensemble and main cast dance, twirl and glide their way seamlessly across the stage as the impressive set effortlessly transports us to a variety of different scenes.
It appears that no expense was spared in an effort to make the stage as realistic as possible, and it is easy to forget that you are sitting in a London theatre, instead feeling as though you have journeyed to the centre of bustling Paris and into the beautiful world of Jerry, Lise, Adam and Henri.
As well as the set, the costumes are also a delight to look at, with the ensemble’s constant and smooth costume changes adding that je ne sais quoi to the show alongside Lise’s collection of stunning dresses.
2. It’s unique
An American In Paris is most definitely not your bog-standard West End musical, with the show combining all of the best elements of a conventional musical production with the beauty, grace and elegance of a traditional ballet – giving you the best of both.
The entire show is building up to Lise’s big ballet performance and when the moment comes towards the end of the second act it most definitely does not disappoint, with Leanne Cope proving herself as the production’s leading lady in a mesmerising and exquisite routine.
3. The talent
It is not just Leanne Cope who shines in the show, with Robert Fairchild also bringing natural charisma and energy to the stage in his role of Jerry, the former GI who falls for Lise when he spots her in the streets of Paris.
His number ‘I’ve Got Beginner’s Luck’ is one of the first act’s highlights and he bounds around the stage with both charm and likeability as he attempts to woo Lise.
The aforementioned David Seadon-Young takes on the role of Adam, the lovable amputee who is attempting to make a life for himself in Paris after the war, and Haydn Oakley is Henri, the man who is set to marry Lise but dreams of nothing more than a glittering singing career.
Although it’d be easy for both men to fall into the background when up against the powerhouses that are Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope, they each hold their ground and make the show as much Adam and Henri’s as it is Jerry and Lise’s.
Zoe Rainey and Jane Asher also shine as supporting characters Milo Davenport and Madame Baurel and they, combined with the ensemble and swing performers, ensure that there isn’t a single loose link in the entire cast.
4. The characters
As well as being performed with bags of talent and charisma, the characters within An American In Paris are also extremely well-rounded and likeable. It’s not unusual for musicals to be filled with surplus characters that don’t really add anything new or exciting to the storyline, but this is one production that makes full use of every available role, ensuring that each individual’s story adds to the overall tale of love, friendship and – above all – hope.
5. The nostalgia
Screen icons Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron star in the 1951 film of which this theatre production is based, which means that the show is bustling with nostalgia for the golden ages of both cinema and art.
As well as the gorgeous costumes and backdrops that come as a result of the post-war era that the story is set, An American In Paris is also glistening with references to Kelly and Caron’s time as the darlings of musical theatre, effortlessly transporting the audience away from the hustle and bustle of life in 2017 to a time where theatre and performance seemingly ruled.