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The Glorious Ones - Landor Theatre (Review)

The Glorious Ones

Review by Shanna Schreuder

BAWDY gags interspersed with melancholic solos provide The Glorious One with its winning musical formula.

With a praise-worthy score by Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (book and lyrics) and staged in the small, yet comfortable Landor Theatre, this production of the off-Broadway hit is designed to delight.

Set in 17th Century Italy, this lively show follows a Commedia dell’Arte troupe of actors when this style of improv theatre dominated the land. Discovered and then led by the flamboyant Flaminio Scala, a real historical figure, each member of the group uses their private highs and heartbreaks to create their on-stage personas that are merely exaggerated versions of their own personalities.

Columbina is the voluptuous leading lady; Pantalone plays the old, lecherous man; the short Armanda brings the physical comedy; Francesco is the young player who is set to outshine his master; and Dottore is a jack of all trades.

All of the players seem to be satisfied with their parts, as well as Flamininio’s leadership, until the noblewoman Isabella Andreini joins them and suggests another way of working that doesn’t involve improvisation, but follows a written script… her script.

Although all the performances were accomplished, there were definitely some that stood out more than others.

Kate Brennan created a saucy, fun and audacious Columbina with a golden voice and excellent comic timing, while Peter Straker’s Pantalone was a genuine crowdpleaser in the way that he worked the audience to get the laughs, as did Peter Gerald playing Dottore.

Jodie Beth Meyer, as Armanda Ragusa, had a silky singing voice.

This really is an evening that is as glorious as its name suggests.

The Glorious Ones runs from Tuesday, March 6 to Saturday, April 7, 2012.

Tickets: £18 (no concessions) – available from the box office on 020 7737 7276 or online at www.landortheatre.co.uk.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm.