There was frost on the ground and an icy mist rising from the lakes and glades of St James’ Park opposite. We could see Big Ben and The London Eye from the balconies, but for a couple of hours we were transported into the throbbing heart of Madrid. To the music of Spanish guitars we sipped cava and gazpacho, nibbled on croquetas and manchego, before being ushered in for the main event…and what an event! Sandi Toksvig made the introductions and set the scene.
David Yazbeck and Jeffrey Lane (the writers of West End hit Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) have adapted Pedro Almodovar’s classic cult movie – and we were going to have an exclusive performance of some of the numbers from the show. First up was the hugely talented Ricardo Afonso, accompanied by a five piece Latin combo, and within seconds he had every limb in the room beating in time to the up tempo rhythms of the show’s opening number, “Madrid”.
Next up was Hadyn Gwynne, (best known to musical theatre audiences as the original Mrs Wilkinson, the dance teacher in Billy Elliot The Musical) singing a duet with the show’s composer, David Yazbek, in a new number written for the London production: “It’s You.” Then Tamsin Greig, Olivier-Award-winning star of stage (Much Ado About Nothing, God Of Carnage TV (Black Books, Episodes, Green Wing, Love Soup) and radio (Debbie Aldridge in The Archers) took the stage –and took the room by storm with “Lovesick.”
But the one thing that characterized all the performances, the not-so-common denominator, was the feeling that you weren’t listening to the numbers so much as immersed in them, from your clicking fingertips, through your swaying hips, to your tapping toes. So if you want to escape the grim chill of the London winter, make your way to The Playhouse Theatre and immerse yourselves in the hilarious, heart-warming and utterly mad Madrid of Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown.
Previews for 16 December – Opening Night 12 January