Review: Pretty Woman the Musical at Bristol Hippodrome

The Pretty Woman theatre programme with the red and gold Bristol Hippodrome theatre as the backdrop

Hey Owlets,

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that I was back at the beautiful Bristol Hippodrome this week.

Pretty Woman, the tale of.... let's be honest, I don't need to tell you! The iconic film is the universal rom-com that everyone's seen, and now it's been given a musical makeover and sent on tour.  I was lucky enough to be given tickets for the opening night, and what I watched surprised me.

I don't usually like to look at reviews before I see a show myself, but I couldn't get my head around how this film could be turned into a musical and hoped they'd shed some light. What I found was a wall of 1 star and 5 star reviews with nothing in between - the true marmite of musicals. I was a little concerned, but I don't take things too seriously and prefer to make my own mind up.

The show opens with a cheesy musical number (not to everyone's taste as I spotted a few telling looks around me, but it made me smile) before introducing the main characters. One thing that has to be mentioned is the calibre of the performers - I don't want to spoil anything, but how one member of the cast ended up in the chorus is beyond me because they deserved their own starring role! The casting was spot on, to the point that when Vivian revealed her natural hair I could've sworn a young Julia Roberts had decided to give treading the boards a go.

The scenery was fairly minimal but used in such a clever way that it didn't matter. Large set pieces were used in place of full backdrops, and any difficult set changes used comedy as a cover, rather than trying to hide the transition which I loved. The master of transitions was the porter who, alongside the hotel manager, entirely stole the show.

The pacing of the show was absolutely spot on, and the musical numbers were mostly great. Personally, I found a few songs a little grating; at times it felt as if a comedic piece had been thrown into the middle of a meaningful song out of nowhere, and it was quite jarring. Thankfully those moments were few and far between so I could forget about them and enjoy the rest of the show. My one huge gripe was that they only played Pretty Woman once - it was right at the end and they didn't even perform the song in its entirety. It didn't need to be littered all the way through, but it felt almost like an afterthought which was shoehorned in when most people hear the words "Pretty Woman" and immediately start singing.

Despite a few odd choices, I would still give the show a solid 9/10. If it comes back to Bristol I would definitely book tickets and insist on bringing all of my family, so I feel like that tells you everything you need to know. If you get chance, I highly recommend going to see the show for yourself! 

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💛 
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