Posted on March 14, 2017 at 9:46 pm

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra presented the UK premiere of Honeymoon In Vegas, Jason Robert Brown and Andrew Bergman’s delirious 2015 musical comedy, for one night only, March 12, at the world-famous London Palladium, with a star-studded cast including Doctor Who‘s Arthur Darvill; star of the recent London revival of The Last Five Years, Samantha Barks; the original Grease 2 star himself, Maxwell Caulfield; original Carlotta in Phantom of the Opera, Rosemary Ashe; Simon Lipkin, Nicholas Colicos and a 16-member chorus of West End regulars; and featuring the 30-strong London Musical Theatre Orchestra conducted by the composer, Jason Robert Brown. The evening was directed by Shaun Kerrison. The packed house gave the show three standing ovations, and the reviews were ecstatic. Excerpts and links below.

Photo by Danny Kaan

Photo by Nick Rutter

Musical Theatre Review (five stars): “The London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) once again proved itself to the most exciting new force on the London theatre scene with a spectacular concert staging of Jason Robert Brown’s playful Honeymoon in Vegas at the Palladium. The event – the show’s UK premiere – was made all the more memorable for JRB’s presence at the podium, leading this remarkable 30-piece orchestra and even jumping on the piano for the playout music (and turning his hand to the ukulele mid-show).”

Broadway World UK (five stars): “The numerous standing ovations for this one-off event attest that London is crying out for a full production. Jason Robert Brown described it as ‘an honour and a thrill’ to be able to bring his work to such a stage – and the feeling in the audience seemed to be mutual.”

London (five stars): “When your supporting players are made up of West End regulars Rosemary Ashe, Simon Lipkin and Nicolas Colicos you know you’re in for a treat, with Ashe as Jack Singer’s mother almost walking away with the show within the first 10 minutes during her number ‘Never Get Married’. Samantha Barks, recently seen in Brown’s The Last Five Years at the St James Theatre (now The Other Palace), was a delight as Betsy – in fine voice and bringing light humour and warmth to the role. Maxwell Caulfield struggled slightly with some of the music, but played the devilish rogue Tommy Korman with great swagger and Sinatra-style. Particular highlights of the evening were Maisey Bawden as the hypnotic-Hawaiian Mahi and the crew of Flying-Elvi – how could they not be a crowd-pleaser! But the star of the show really was Arthur Darvill. Oozing charm and comedic dexterity, and blessed with a pleasingly natural singing voice, Darvill didn’t miss a beat as Jack. Tackling Brown’s score with both gusto and ease, the role fitted him like a glove and allowed him to blend his obvious musicianship and instant likeability into a near perfect leading man.”

The Stage (Mark Shenton) (four stars): “Brown is best known as the writer of the game-changing Tony-winning Parade. Honeymoon in Vegas, based on the 1992 film, is a defiantly old-fashioned musical comedy of the old school that contains some of his most accessible and fun songs yet. He has given it a brassy Big Band jazz sound – a perfect match of form and content for a show set in Vegas – and it’s performed to absolutely thrilling effect by the 30-strong LMTO, with the composer himself joining the orchestra as guest conductor.”

Rewrite This Story (five stars): “Each member of the cast, chorus and orchestra worked harmoniously together to pull of an effortless performance. Simon Lipkin is a brilliant performer and he stole the show each time he appeared on stage, leaving us all laughing and feeling thoroughly entertained. Maisey Bawden was hilarious as the Hawaiian Mahi and had the audience in the palm or her hand as she caused everyone to laugh out loud.”

Jonathan Baz Reviews… (five stars): “Brown’s score combined with Bergman’s script is a driving force to be reckoned with in musical theatre. The gags and jazzy tunes come thick and fast as the plot’s twists and turns unfold. The saying is that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas – well it was great to see the secrets of this story spilled in London. The show’s creatives took a gamble that came up trumps, their ambitious production playing to a full house. Flush with their success, let’s hope it’s back here soon.”