It's a brave decision to set up another theatre in SE1, whose seemingly ever-growing collection of theatres rivals the West End in stature as well as number.
Waterloo East Theatre represents the latest addition and, like the nearby Union Theatre and Southwark Playhouse, is housed in a railway arch, lending it a particular intimacy and eccentricity that serves to enhance its charm.
Hopefully it will successfully make a name for itself and achieve its aim to be a vital component of the public and cultural life of the local and surrounding London boroughs. Certainly they managed to turn the derelict space into a fully-functioning and comfortable theatre in a remarkably short timeframe.
Sunset Bitch is the second production to be shown at the nascent venue, and Jessica Martin as Hollywood starlet Veronique Raymond owns and commands the intimate stage.
Martin is an accomplished and confident singer (and mimic – doing a particularly effective Marlon Brando impersonation), accompanied by an excellent pianist.
This is without doubt a musical – the vast majority is sung, not spoken – which charts Raymond's often quite desperate acting career in LA and Vegas. The slightly worn and budget staging appears to aptly reflect Raymond's own surroundings and situation.
Despite some topical comic references (to Naomi Campbell, Hillary Clinton etc), this production is very much reflective of the golden age of Hollywood. As a result, littered as it is with references to old-school stars and celebrities, it may appeal to some ages more than others. Certainly not one for anyone that's not a fan of musicals.
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