REVIEW: The Woman In White ★★★★ – Charing Cross Theatre

“…a thrilling, haunting story of a love triangle surrounded by greed, betrayal, deceit and misinformation”

★★★★

West End Theatre Guide

The Woman in White is a musical written by Charlotte Jones, with music from Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zippel, based on the novel by Wilkie Collins. The musical debuted in the West End in September 2004 and on Broadway a year later. This production, at the Charing Cross Theatre, marks its first West End revival since closing in early 2006.

The musical begins with Walter Hartright making his way to Limmeridge House where he has been commissioned as drawing teacher to the two young ladies who reside there, half-sisters Marian Halcombe and Laura Fairlie. On his way there, his journey is disrupted by “danger on the line” and a signalman’s eerie prediction of death, and he then has a spine-chilling encounter with a woman dressed all in white, who is fleeing from someone and who has a secret she can’t share with anyone. Confused and unnerved, Hartright arrives at Limmeridge and is instantly taken aback by the beautiful and talented Laura, to the dismay of Marian (regarded as the plainer of the ladies) who’s also fallen for him. Unfortunately, Laura is promised to another by her father’s dying wish, and she marries Sir Percival Glyde, but he and his best man for the wedding, Count Fosco, turn out to be anything but the wealthy, upper-class gentlemen they purport to be, and what then ensues is a struggle by the women, Marian, Laura and the wronged “woman in white”, to fight against the tyrannical and dastardly men, with the help of the honest and faithful Walter Hartright.

The overwhelming message of the musical is how women of the time were powerless against the hand of men, being expected to fall into line with whatever their husbands/fathers wished, and it also makes the important point that first impressions are not always what they seem, in both the cases of Glyde and Fosco, but also in the case of the mysterious “woman in white” herself.

The cast of this revival production are outstanding: Carolyn Maitland (You Know How to Love Me, Ghost, Groundhog Day) as Marian, Anna O’Byrne (My Fair Lady, The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies) as Laura, Sophie Reeves (Les Miserables, Candide, Into The Woods) as Anne Catherick, Ashley Stillburn (The Phantom of the Opera, The Braille Legacy, Death Takes A Holiday) as Walter, Greg Castiglioni (Fiddler on the Roof, Titanic, Evita) as Fosco, Chris Peluso (Funny Girl, Death Takes A Holiday, Miss Saigon) as Sir Percival Glyde.

The musical score by Webber and Zippel is superb with standout numbers including, ‘I Believe My Heart’, ‘All for Laura’ and ‘You Can Get Away with Anything’.

The Woman in White is a thrilling, haunting story of a love triangle surrounded by greed, betrayal, deceit and misinformation, culminating in a chilling ending which brings the musical full circle, beginning and ending on the rail-track with the signalman’s prediction and the woman in white.

This production of The Woman in White running at the Charing Cross Theatre from 20th November 2017 to 10th February 2018 (to book tickets, click here). For more information on your visit to the Charing Cross, read our guide.

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