We take a look at what is being said about the musical adaptation of the classic 1953 Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck film.

(c) Ellie Kurttz

Broadway World: **** “For anyone not convinced by turning a Fifties film into a musical today, Roman Holiday is more relevant than you’d think. References to Princess Ann having to be dutiful to her country ­– rather than open and free like singer Francesca ­­– chimes with debates about the recent behaviour of Harry and Megan (who did escape palace walls for a new life in California). As Joe sagely says to the princess, “Life isn’t always what one likes.””

The Guardian: ** “There are charismatic performances, including Adrian Der Gregorian’s wonderfully comic Irving and Tania Mathurin’s flamboyant Francesca. Alongside a talented ensemble, Michael D Xavier’s voice soars in the role of Joe. His chemistry with Collingwood blossoms in the second half and their climactic kiss is the moment that the story makes the most sense as a musical. But the need to crowbar in Porter’s bigger hits slows the story into a parade of lovelorn wistfulness, one that ultimately undercuts the movie’s celebrated ending.”

WhatsOnStage: ** “When it comes to creating a musical, you’d expect Roman Holiday to be the perfect source material for something that pops and fizzes. With famous vistas, Italian flair, and two stonking parts for matinee idols, it’s a musical that would have been perfect for Cole Porter to bash into shape. So hey, here some seventy years later are a number of Porter’s songs, plonked right into the heart of Dalton Trumbo’s original film narrative. So Roman Holiday becomes a sort of jukebox musical, one that unfortunately, like so many of its ilk, doesn’t seamlessly blend book and score.”

Bath Echo: “Michael D. Xavier, the hack with morals, is a fine leading man as Joe. His vocals are delightful and he is well paired with Rebecca Collingwood as Princess Anne. They are both engaging and their romance develops well. The score is well chosen, allowing them to shine brightly.”

The Telegraph: *** “This musical version of the enchanting 1953 romcom raids the Cole Porter songbook, only swelling the sense of heard-it-all-before.”

The Fine Times Recorder: “It’s full of joy and fun and charm and romance, with a big slice of timeless reality thrown in. It delighted the packed audience on the night I saw it, and it hope it will not only continue to do so for the rest of its Bath run, but will go on to captivate audiences around the country.”

Stage Talk Magazine: *** “Ms Mathurin takes to Porter with relish and in truth could have entertained us for the full two hours. No less is it the case with Ms Collingwood who sings like an angel and acts with such fulgent assurance that no journalistic heart could fail to be melted.”

The musical continues to play at the Theatre Royal Bath until the 1st July 2023.


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