Review: Ragtime the Musical - Landor Theatre, London

Photo by Tim Parker
In what is possibly the smallest venue I have been to in London so far this year, the Landor Theatre is upstairs above a pub, and I had the delight of seeing a wide range of talent in Ragtime the Musical last night.

First, a little bit of history of the show. It was nominated for 13 Tony Awards on its Broadway premiere in 1996 and a 2009 revival earned a further 7 Tony Award nominations. Its West End premiere in 2003 led to Maria Friedman being named Best Actress in the Olivier Awards.

What you first wonder when you walk into the space, is how the heck are they going to get a cast of over 20 performers on the stage, alongside a band of 5 along with drums and a double bass?
The answer is in the staging... nicely choreographed to utilise the space, and I'm guessing backstage is the same.

Photo by Tim Parker
For those who don't know what Ragtime the Musical is about, well it is the turn of the twentieth century in New York and based on the novel by E.L Doctorow, Terrence McNally’s script weaves together the story of three groups in America, represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr, a Harlem musician (Kurt Kansley); Mother and her family in New Rochelle (Louisa Lydell); and Tateh, a Jewish immigrant (John Barr) who has come to America with his daughter seeking a new life. It features many historical figures, including Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, JP Morgan and Henry Ford.

Great casting for this musical, some fantastic singing from this vibrant company. Rosalind James playing Sarah stands out with her vocals, simply top notch, wonderful to listen to.
George Dyer's band are tight, they have done a fantastic job at getting the score down for a 5 piece band.

Rosalind James
Photo by Tim Parker
The set works well, with various sliding silhouettes operated by the cast, which keeps in feeling of the early New York setting, and adapts well to Atlantic City when it all lights up, lit nicely by Howard Hudson.
The only one small negative about this production for me is that sitting close to the band, I had trouble hearing some of the vocals when the performers were over on stage right, I got used to it after a while though as my lip reading skills came into full force!

Great singing, lovely music, a wonderful evening out at Landor Theatre. Go and see it straight away.

Landor Theatre
70 Landor Road

Box Office: 020 7737 7276

Nearest Rail/Tube:
Clapham North (Northern Line)
Clapham High Street (BR)

Thursday 1 September – Saturday 8 October

Tuesday – Thursday, Saturday & Sunday at 7.30pm
All Friday shows at 7.00pm
Saturday & Sunday matinees at 3.00pm.

Tickets: £18.00 (£16.00 concessions)