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Simon James Collier with Fallen Angel Theatre & Ben David Productions Presents


The Remains of the Day


Cast of The Remains of the Day 2010



Based on the Novel The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Music, Book and Lyrics by Alex Loveless

Directed by Chris Loveless

Movement Director: Omar F. Okai

Instrumental & Ensemble Vocal Arrangements: Rowland Lee

Musical Director, Dance & Vocal Arrangements: Richard Bates


Union Theatre

1 - 25 Sept 2010







A review by Bernie Whelan for EXTRA! EXTRA!

It was difficult, at first, to accept the idea of Kazuo Ishiguro's wonderful book as a musical. The Merchant Ivory film was as close to the book as I imagined it was possible to get, with Anthony Hopkins making the role of the quintessential butler, Stevens, very much his own among a brilliant cast. Yet the key theme of declining British hegemony, as played out in Darlington Hall at key moments just before the Second World War in 1935, looking back through the eyes of Stevens (Stephen Rashbrook), from around the time of the Suez Crisis in the 1950s, is rendered perfectly on stage in this musical production.

The complexities of the political machinations of 'gentlemen amateurs'  like Lord Darlington (Alan Vicary), who seeks to forge European alliances with the Nazis, is, yes I know it's hard to believe, sung in thrilling ensembles such as  'The French' in Act I and 'Democracy' in Act II. The American challenger Mr Lewis/Mr Farraday (Reuben Kaye) becomes Stevens' master at Darlington Hall, just as the Americans take the lead as world superpower from the British after the Suez Crisis, and sings 'Divide and Rule' to the gathered European politicians, taking on the tactics which allowed Britain to remain world leader for so long.

A combination of dramatic dialogue, singing, and dancing brought the characters to life with an emotional subtlety that bewitched the audience in the Union Theatre. Miss Kenton (Lucy Bradshaw) is a fine singer, and brought real depth and intensity to the part of Stevens' thwarted housekeeper. When Stevens follows Lord Darlington's directive to dismiss the two Jewish servants in the household, Miss Kenton's argument on their behalf and their leave-taking in 'Close Your Eyes' is really moving, and beautifully sung by Gemma Salter and Katia Sartini as Sarah and Ruth.

However, the star is Stephen Rashbrook for his singing, dancing and at all times, utterly composed Stevens. The scenes between Stevens and his dying father, played by Dudley Rogers, were all the more affecting for the emotional reserve both actors conveyed so powerfully. I imagine this is no mean feat among a cast of incredibly professional and accomplished singers and dancers who filled the stage with all the verve and panache expected of any musical.

The set, designed by David Shields, marvellously conveyed the changing scenes in Darlington Hall and the Cornish seaside town where Stevens visits Miss Kenton, now Mrs Benn. The music, composed by Alex Loveless, was divine and worthy of attendance by itself. Richard Bates deserves credit for the wonderful dance and vocal arrangements. I particularly enjoyed 'The End of the Pier' which evoked a 1950’s British 'naughty but nice' nostalgia with the girls dancing and singing in tiny sailor suits.

This really was a surprise for me. I didn't expect a work of such understated quality to be rendered well in a musical but it was a true success. An all singing, all dancing Remains of the Day seemed a questionable enterprise, but I enjoyed every moment of it and left excitedly discussing new angles of a book and film I had thought it would be impossible to improve on. However, new wine in old bottles can sometimes be a very good thing.



Stephen Rashbrook as Stevens and Lucy Bradshaw as Miss Kenton in The Remains of the-Day 2010





Union Theatre
204 Union Street, Southwark. SE1 0LX

Tues - Sat 7.30pm, Sun Matinees 2.30pm

Tickets: £15.50/£12.50 concs

Box Office : 0207 261 9876




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