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  • Review by john Murray

Sunset Boulevard plays Edinburgh

Sunset Boulevard is a huge stage musical and


based on the famous Billy Wilder film. Add material from Don Black and Christopher Hampton then the music from Andrew Lloyd Webber and you have a show of some stature. Glenn Close played the part of Norma Desmond on stage in the West End and her understudy was Ria Jones who now tours in the leading role.

She grasped her opportunity steeping in at that time and now the role is very much her own.

From the very moment the orchestra struck up the overture we were anticipating a quality show and it certainly was. The opening is frantic with a huge fast moving cast, multimedia effects and just one of the principal characters being introduced. Joe Gillis (played by Danny Mac) is a screen writer but is looking for work to pay his debts. He meets Ms Norma Desmond (Ria Jones) by chance and she hires him to restore her career with a screenplay but as a silent movie star her best days are long gone in the new talking pictures age.

The whole performance has a Hollywood feel to it in both staging and scale. Some of the songs too have bridged into the mainstream most notable Perfect Year which became a hit single. Both Joe and Norma’s butler Max Von Meyerling (played brilliantly by Adam Pierce) have major roles within the story and to a degree so does young Betty Schaeffer (Molly Lynch) working at Paramount Pictures and a love interest for Joe. But we all have eyes on Ria as Norma who truly excels. She knows this role so well now it must be second nature yet she brings drama and spectacular vocals each and every night. An audience of all ages loved the show resulting in a curtain call and standing ovation so well deserved.

Edinburgh Playhouse till October 7

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