When I saw that An American In Paris had been awarded a record breaking 28 5 star reviews upon its opening, I knew I had to find out what all the fuss was about. As I said in my previous review, I am definitely not well versed in the world of theatre enough to give starred ratings so I won’t be. But I will be telling you what I thought of the show.
Based opposite the Tottenham Court Road tube station, the Dominion Theatre (part of the Nederlander group) is currently home to An American In Paris. Inspired by the synonymous 1951 film starring Gene Kelly, set in Post-World War Two, An American In Paris tells the tale of three men who have all fallen in love with one girl and are all following their artistic dreams. This was the one of the most decorated shows of the 2015 Tony Awards and if the reviews are anything to go by, the London production could follow suit at the Oliviers next year.
Unlike when I saw A Comedy About A Bank Robbery (the very same day), I was nowhere near the front. In fact, I was almost as far away from the stage as I could’ve possibly been sat in Circle Q4. But I had a pretty good view. The only part of the stage I missed were thanks to the man in front of me continuing to lean in to kiss his girlfriend – not cool, just watch the show!
If I had to name my favourite musicals that I’ve seen on stage, I’d have to say The Book of Mormon, Matilda and Wicked. For some reason I just can’t warm to songs from the likes of the Gershwin brothers (who wrote the music for this) and Rogers & Hammerstein; I’m a Menken and Pasek & Paul kinda gal. The songs in shows before the 80s are never meaty enough for me, and the storylines are usually dull. Anthat’s the issue I had with this show. Despite this seemingly critical problem, I wouldn’t tell people to give it a miss.
For fifteen years I took ballet lessons. I think people think I’m joking when I tell them I danced for that long as I have the build of a female rugby player, not a ballerina. My knees are shot and I haven’t got the stamina to finish a class anymore, but it doesn’t even mean that I don’t enjoy watching people dance. It’s breathtaking.
The choreography and costume design in this show is like nothing I’ve seen on the West End before. You know I said I love watching people dance? Well, I cried five times watching Robert Fairchild dance. There’s something about seeing the love in someone’s eyes as they move across that stage that catches me in all the right ways. And hey, it doesn’t hurt if the dancer is attractive! The costumes are also a spectacle; they’re beautiful. Plus, the big feather headpieces remind me of the finale of the year I was in Snow White in panto and brought back wonderful feelings of being on stage.
When I left the theatre I thought to myself that I probably wouldn’t bother seeing this again but as I’ve had time to reflect, I’ve changed my mind. Firstly because Ashley Day is the alternate for Robert Fairchild and I’d love to see him dance (I watched Ashley play Elder Price in The Book of Mormon twice and he was sensational in the role). The second reason is because I want to have those feelings I got when I watched the cast dance. One unit all working as one. Honestly my heart hurts in a good way when I think about it.
Sure, the storyline was bland and the music wasn’t really my cup of tea but the dancing swayed it for me. If you have never seen a ballet and want something a little more accessible then this is the show for you. If you’re a big fan of the classics when it comes to musical theatre then you definitely need to see this. It may be one of the West End’s newest shows and it’s not always easy to predict how a show will fare, but I imagine that An American In Paris will be about for sometime yet.