After a 1969 Broadway premiere, Jerry Herman's 'Dear World' was very rarely seen. Emerging from its bumpy history the show, directed and choreographed by the world renowned Gillian Lynne, finally holds its British premiere at the Charing Cross Theatre.
The intimate venue automatically draws the audience in - and leading lady Betty Buckley adds to this with her powerful and comfortable presence on stage, carrying the story beautifully and bringing humour as well as a sense of utter realism.
Based on Jean Giraudoux's play 'The Madwoman of Chaillot', this musical fable centres around Countess Aurelia (Buckley) who lives in the basement of a Parisian cafe and is driven mad by her lost lover. When oil is discovered under the streets of the city she and her acquaintances come together to stop the destruction of the Countess' home by a group of thriving but villainous businessmen.
Director Gillian Lynne's spectacular choreography adds even more humour and fun to an already energetic story; while the elegant interpretations of ballads by the cast, most notably Katy Treharne as the romantic lead Nina, ensures the portrayal of emotion.
With a plot that is undeniably simple compared to some of the musicals we all know and love, Dear World may be hard to get into. However, after a while, the plainness of the story disappears, and what is left is a fun and at times moving show.