Pretty Woman / our review
BOLD nostalgic Romantic
Mar 3rd, 2023
Everybody Needs A Dream!
Welcome to Hollywood! Full disclosure, this reviewer is a BIG fan (HUGE) of Pretty Woman the movie, Julia Roberts is one of my favourite actresses of all time. I think I can speak for all fans when I say whoever plays the main characters Vivian and Edward has big shoes to fill and 'SPOILER ALERT', those shoes were filled and then some.
The atmosphere was thick with excitement, from fellow first-timers and those returning to enjoy the musical once more.
As soon as the music started the vibration of the base and electric guitar surged through me....there's just something about live music that gives me instant goosebumps. The stage is soon flooded with lights and within a blink, I was transported to 80s Hollywood.
Let's start with the cast. I had the pleasure of seeing the alternate cast John Addison and Elly Jay. Both actors nailed the personalities and characteristics, and embodied the intense romantic chemistry between the characters. I found myself feeling shy at the romantic scenes as if I was in the room with them. I don't know how Elly Jay did it, but she perfected the iconic Julia Roberts laugh and I could not get enough of it! I almost felt proud watching her perform. Not only did Jay's rendition of the song Anywhere But Here' bring me to tears when hitting the long notes, but you could really tell she was a fan and paid attention to every detail of Vivian from the movie. Now to the handsome John Addison, I can safely say that I had a little crush on Richard Gere who played Edward originally. And I think that's an essential factor of the character; to make the audience fall in love with him, John definitely succeeded.
Aside from the excellent leads, there were three other performances that stood out. Courtney Bowman as Kit De Luca is one of them.
Her powerful voice shot waves through me to the point where I couldn't help myself and I cheered alongside the rest of the audience.
The sassy attitude, comical punchlines and not to forget her fabulous stage presence, she truly stole my heart! I applaud the writers for this as they gave us a different side of Kit, we got to see her perspective, goals, and ambitions, it was a storyline I didn't know I needed.
Andy Barke, who played Happy Man/ Mr Thompson, tied everything together. The best part about his performance was how committed he was when performing as one of his characters. You'll find him showing up everywhere with his funky dance moves and unique style of singing which had me crying with laughter; I don't think the show would have been the same without him. Speaking of crying with laughter, I was left in stitches by Alex Charles also known as Giulio. With his cheeky facial expressions and animated performance, Charles and Barke were a true force when they were on stage together - if anything, this love story was about them.
I'd also like to shine a spotlight on the Opera singers who deserve all the credit for their performance. I wasn't expecting that particular scene to include a full choir, but boy am I glad it did - it was pure magic.
The costumes were almost identical to the movie. You could really see how much effort the costume team put towards making sure everyone on stage was looking the part. The same can be said for the stage designers, in each scene you knew exactly where you were and gave the illusion that you were right there with them in Hollywood.
The sets and costumes are breathtaking, and the staging and lighting kept me captivated.
The curtain call of the show was one of the highlights, mainly due to the fact that we finally got to hear the iconic Roy Orbison song Pretty Woman'. With the audience up on their feet and singing along, it felt like a great way to close the show - I just wish they had given us a bit more of this classic hit throughout the show.
The verdict is in; would I see this musical again? *drumroll* The answer is plain and simple, yes. It's a must-see for anyone who loves the original movie or for anyone who wants to experience something truly special. The musical is fun and has a mix of catchy contemporary pop, rock, soul with a touch of classical that will have you singing along and tapping your feet to the beat. As soon as I left the theatre I couldn't wait to rush home and watch the movie to keep the fantasy going.
View our show pages for more information about Pretty Woman, CIBC Theatre.