Theatre Review: TITANIC THE MUSICAL – The Lowry, Salford

The cast of Titanic The Musical.

The cast of TITANIC THE MUSICAL. Photo by Scott Rylander

Five-time Tony award-winning TITANIC THE MUSICAL heads to Salford’s The Lowry as part of its first ever UK & Ireland tour

With Adele throwing a Titanic-themed 30th birthday this week, Maury Yeston’s musical about the ill-fated maiden voyage of RMS Titanic makes a timely appearance at Salford’s The Lowry this week. But does TITANIC THE MUSICAL sink or sail? 

Based on the real stories of passengers aboard the ill-fated ship, TITANIC THE MUSICAL focuses on the hopes and aspirations of the crew and passengers. Unaware of the fate that awaits them, the Third Class immigrants dream of a better life in America, the newly-enfranchised Second Class dream of achieving the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and the millionaire Barons of the First Class dream of their mastery lasting forever. With music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone, the musical first opened on Broadway in 1997 and won five Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical and Best Score.

Following a late start and an announcement that an understudy would be stepping in for Ida Strauss, the musical finally got underway much to the delight of the audience. As we’re introduced to three people on each level of the ship, Director Thom Southerland makes good use of David Woodhead’s simple yet effective set with its moving staircases to evoke the feeling of a ship at sea. Each character’s story is portrayed well and with feeling and Yeston’s musical numbers help move the action along at a steady pace.

All of the 25 strong cast delivers an excellent performance with many returning from TITANIC THE MUSICAL’s performances at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, Southwark Playhouse and Charing Cross Theatre. Claire Machin, in particular, deserves her standing ovation for bringing comedy and humour to the role of second-class passenger Alice Beane, her powerful voice filling the stage as she dances with grace during the musical numbers.

The second half of the show inevitably deals with the aftermath of the crash and shows how each person coped with their situation, fighting to survive or accepting their fate. The argument of who was to blame and the cowardice of the owner is portrayed particularly well in the musical number THE BLAME and the huge loss of life that could have been prevented at every step of the ship’s journey from its design and construction to its navigation and communications is not lost along the way.

Poignant and powerful, Maury Yeston transforms the haunting story of the great ship Titanic with TITANIC THE MUSICAL by choosing to focus on the people rather than the disaster itself.

4 out of 5 stars

TITANIC THE MUSICAL runs at The Lowry, Salford until 12 May 2018.