Pretty Woman: The Musical Review

Leeds Grand Theatre – until Saturday 25th May 2024

Reviewed by Lauren Fordham


Pretty Woman: The Musical is based on the much-loved 1990 film of the same name about a businessman, Edward Lewis (played by Oliver Savile in the musical) who meets and falls in love with a prostitute he hires, Vivian Ward (played by Amber Davies.)

The show preserves all the well-known lines from the show and Davies delivers them with a knowing humour, the ‘I have a runner in my pantyhose/I’m not wearing any pantyhose’ scene being particularly funny coming from the 2017 Love Island winner, who like Vivian has proven her talents since. But unlike film, the strength of a musical lies in its songs and its singers, and it has some stupendous singers.

That Davies is one is evident from her first number, ‘Anywhere But Here’, although in my opinion she doesn’t get to give full rein to her voice until the belting, ‘I Can’t Go Back,’ in the second half, but the power she unleashes is breathtaking.

Natalie Paris is both no-nonsense and nurturing as Vivian’s friend and fellow prostitute Kit De Luca, in turns exhorting her to take advantage of Edward’s wealth ‘there ain’t no limit on a platinum card/he can afford it, let’s hit him hard’ but also encouraging her to dream and value herself: ‘you don’t belong on the Boulevard, you’re so much more than you think you are.’ In her maternal delivery of these lines I see echoes of Paris’ previous role of Jane Seymour in Six and she proves that Kit De Luca, while streetwise, definitely does not have a heart of stone. Rodeo Drive reveals Paris’ flair for rock, and my only complaint is that, like Six, it is over too soon.

Lila Falce-Bass makes a dazzling debut as opera singer Violetta, blowing me away with her powerful, assured vocal that belies her hitherto lack of professional experience. I’m sure she will have casting directors calling after this performance

Oliver Savile makes Edward Lewis the supportive sugar daddy anyone would love, particularly as he encourages Vivian to have confidence in herself in ‘You’re Beautiful’, an anthem I will definitely be adding to my mental health playlist.

David Rockwell’s scenic design and Kenneth Posner and Philip S Rosenberg’s lighting design skills work well together to evoke both the seedy dim lights of Hollywood and the opulence and oceanic view of Edward’s Beverly Wilshire penthouse.

Though the film made stars of its leads, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, for me the musical’s stars are subsidiary characters Guilio the bellboy, played by Noah Harrison, and Happy Man/hotel manager Mr Thompson, both played by the vibrant and versatile Ore Oduba.

Compared with Oduba’s clear campness, Harrison’s humour is somewhat hidden under a bushel but hilarious when he catches Vivian’s wig in her hotel room, hides it and then proceeds to dance with it, and that’s only one of many scenes I don’t have the word count to feature. They mesmerise the audience with their movement, the standard of which transcends even Oduba’s Strictly background.

The work of cast and crew combines to give a truly romantic, ravishing production. Buy your tickets now, or you’ll be making a Big. Huge. Mistake