Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Review

Published by Daniel Bennifer on May 15, 2015 6:28 pm
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Tamsin Greig delivers an unmissable performance in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in London’s West End.

As soon as I heard Tamsin Greig would be starring as the lead in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, I was instantly excited. Being a big fan of her previous television and theatre work, it was an opportunity not to be missed.

Though, this certainly isn’t Greig’s usual role. That’s for sure. The Olivier Award-winning actress, who’s used to starring in hit television comedies that include Episodes as Beverly Lincoln, alongside Matt LeBlanc (of Friends’ Joey fame) and Stephen Mangan. Then, there’s my two favourite roles in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner and Black Books as Nighty Gifty store owner Fran.

You’d almost never know that this was her first starring role in a West End musical. It’s clear that all her rigorous singing lessons have paid off in spades. That’s to say the least. Unless, you’d been told beforehand, you’d almost be amazed to hear that she hadn’t done it before.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown West End Musical Review starring Tamsin Greig

That’s possibly a testament to the outstanding quality of the songs and lyrics of the show, though. Brought to the stage by David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane, who previously worked together on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the musical is adapted from Pedro Almodóva’s 1998 film of the same name.

Just as with the film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is set on the streets of Madrid, in the late 1980’s and follows the troublesome love lives of several women. The central character is Pepa (Tamsin Greig), who’s distraught after her lover, Ivan, leaves her. Something of a pattern followed throughout the show.

The plot quickly thickens as his ex-wife, her son, Carlos, with his fiancé in tow show up. To further make matters worse, Pepa’s best friend, the suicide-prone Candela, believes she’s dating a terrorist. It’s certainly not looking good for Greig’s character who’s trapped in the middle of it all.

The duo have done an absolutely marvelous job in bringing it to the stage, managing to intersect the story with musical numbers that don’t hinder its delivery. Which isn’t always an easy thing to do.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown West End Musical Review starring Tamsin Greig

It’s not simply Greig’s performance that’s worth mentioning here, though. The cast of Women on the Verge in the West End is stellar all-around.

Starring as Lucia, the bitter ex-wife, is Haydn Gwynne (The Audience, Billy Elliot), Anna Skellern (BBC’s The Interceptor) as the best-friend Candela, Willemijn Verkaik a lawyer and Ivan’s new bit on the side, and Sline Hizli as the prudish fiancé Marisa.

Each of the female leads have a fantastic presence on stage. There’s not a weak link in the chain. The chemistry and relationships between them all simply click. You couldn’t ask for more.

The male cast which is admittedly rather small in the show, a given considering its name, includes Jérôme Pradon (Les Miserables, Pacific Overtures) as the misogynistic ladies’ man Ivan and Haydn Oakley as his son, Carlos.

A personal commemoration on that front, is Ricardo Afonso’s role as the Taxi Driver, who helps push the plot along and bridges various scenes, such as Pepa’s apartment or Lucia’s home. He adds some light-hearted humour to the overall production.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown West End Musical Review starring Tamsin Greig

There’s truly something for everyone on offer in Women on the Verge. There’s a fantastic musical line-up, there’s drama and comedy, and romance and mystery. It’s a truly heartfelt musical that celebrates some of the female talent on stage as of now.

Directed by Tony Award-winning Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The King and I), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown will finish up its current run at the Playhouse Theatre, London, later this month on May 23.

To avoid disappoint and an opportunity to see one of the hottest new musicals on in the West End right now, book tickets here.

Read on below for our verdict of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and stay tuned to GizLine for all your theatre coverage.

 
 

The Verdict

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story

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design

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cast

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music

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quality

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overall

9.0

8.5

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9.0

9.5

9.0

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