First brought to Southwark Playhouse on 31st July 2013, and now travelling the UK on its 10th Anniversary Tour, Titanic the Musical has arrived at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking.

Credit: Pamela Raith

Based on the infamous tale of the Titanic’s sinking on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic, the musical tells the stories of passengers and crew alike in the days of the voyage; from the boarding to the eventual sinking and loss of more than 1,500 people.

I think it’s unlikely that anyone would take themselves to see this show who doesn’t already know the infamous fate of the Titanic. And yet, this production breathes new life and soul into this story; keeping the memory of those lost in the disaster at the forefront of its focus.

This Tony Award-winning musical boasts beautiful music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a heartfelt book written by Peter Stone. I applaud the material of this show for tackling this topic head-on. So often in darker-themed shows, especially those based on history, there can be glossing over the tragedy and pain. Looking to paint the story with a more positive or uplifting undertone. This show does not shy away from the fact that this was a catastrophic moment in history; focused on classism, arrogance, and the loss of so many innocent lives.

Direction by Thom Southerland is meticulously detailed, with each character and prop having a purpose for being onstage at any given moment and all milling amongst each other seamlessly. It is an impressively busy stage and creates the perfect illusion of a busy ship at sea.

It is worth noting how remarkable each performance within the entire company is. Every single performer’s passion for this story shines through in their delivery of the piece. Barnaby Hughes as the eccentric first-class steward, Etches, is a delight. Lucie-Mae Sumner’s performance as the gutsy Kate McGowan is the perfect performance to represent the ambitions of the third class.

A standout moment is “The Blame” – performed by the three heads of the Titanic; Thomas Andrews (Ian McLarnon) the architect who built it, Captain Edward Smith (Graham Bickley), and the owner, Ismay (Martin Allanson). The tension and bitterness between all of the characters as they fight over who is more at fault for the disaster are incredibly powerful.

Credit: Pamela Raith

I completely fell in love with the set design by David Woodhead – who is also the designer behind the beautiful costumes of the production. Whilst the set is quite minimalist and the same throughout the show, it is versatile, being used for all of the various levels of the ship. The layout is clearly well thought out – even managing to clearly define areas of the ship whilst in the chaos of the second act, with so many characters running back and forth from various locations.

My only criticism is that the acts are quite unbalanced; Act One runs surprisingly long and Act Two by comparison feels incredibly short. But although the timings are frustrating, it makes perfect sense for the show to take its interval at the moment that it does; as the iceberg hits.

Overall, this show is a powerhouse of a musical that will absolutely break your heart, but it is worth the emotional pain it will cause to watch such powerful performances. It is a wonderful production that I hope will continue to tour for many more years.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Titanic The Musical is on tour – find out more here.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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