Ginger Hibiscus | Ginger Hibiscus | REVIEW: Carrie The Musical at the Southwark Playhouse
Ginger Hibiscus | REVIEW: Carrie The Musical at the Southwark Playhouse
Ginger Hibiscus | REVIEW: Carrie The Musical at the Southwark Playhouse
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11 May REVIEW: Carrie The Musical at the Southwark Playhouse

The world isn’t a friendly place for Carrie White. Agonisingly shy, she’s made it all the way to her final year of high school without ever having made a friend, face to the floor as “weirdo” catcalls ring out in the corridors. They laugh at her for anything, incessantly, including her fringe, buckled up shoes and shabby clothing picked out by a mother who offers little in the way of warmth and affection, but a lot in the way of religious fanaticism. Navigating high school life is hard enough for Carrie, but when an incident in the girls’ locker room forces gym teacher Miss Gardner to make the other girls apologise, personally, to the class’ favourite kicking post, it’s more than ringleader Chris can handle, and she vows to multiply Carrie’s suffering.

Evelyn Hoskins as Carrie in CARRIE - THE MUSICALYears out of education, it’s really easy to forget the intensity of high school drama, when the memories have faded into nothing but a ghost of distress, and current worries eclipse everything that’s already passed. But just because recalling the experience no longer feels like having your throat ripped out, that doesn’t mean it never did. If you were ever humiliated in class, picked on or beaten up, chances are, that at the time it felt like the end of the world. And for Carrie, being the plaything of the school bullies is the rule, rather than the exception. In a production that can only be described as sensational, Carrie The Musical tells Stephen King’s story of a girl, who, like so many others, just wants to be accepted, to be thought of as “normal.” But unlike the other girls, there’s something deep inside her that means she is anything but. And that something is struggling to get out.

Exploding onto stage is Gary Lloyd’s blockbuster of a show, headed up by a stunning lead in Evelyn Hoskins. Unleashing an impossibly huge voice from such a tiny frame, casting director Will Burton CDG could never have found an actress or singer more perfect for the role than Hoskins, the way such power just bursts from nowhere foreshadowing later events. But it’s in how sympathetically she’s portrayed that makes Carrie’s humanness so devastating, multiplying the impact of the piece as audiences really do feel her pain.

Hoskins certainly puts in an exceptional performance, but it’s not a show with just one notable actress; mention has to go to Jodie Jacobs’ Miss Gardner, Sarah McNicholas’ Sue Snell and Kim Criswell’s Margaret White, to name but a few. Three very different characters all brought to life on stage, they’re only three of a unanimously strong cast of no less than fourteen people, all furiously energetic with Gary Lloyd’s exuberant choreography. Although at times the ensemble seem to compete for the limelight, a lot of the most memorable moments arise when they’re all on stage together, A Night We’ll Never Forget being a prime example, a poppy ear worm of a song (Michael Gore) that you’ll be humming all the way home.

A spectacle of theatricality positioned firmly in the modern day, Carrie The Musical is definitely one to watch. A high school drama with a deep slice of horror, it’s big, loud and dripping in blood, a feast for the senses in every way. So brace yourself: this time last year, all anyone could talk about was In The Heights at Southwark Playhouse. This year, the same will be true of Carrie.

Dates: 1st – 30th May 2015
Venue: Southwark Playhouse
For information and tickets:
Images: Claire Bilyard

Star Rating

Ginger Hibiscus don’t like using stars as a headline; we think they’re too reductionist, and that decision-making based on stars misses the point of a review. Just as you wouldn’t judge a personality using a five-point scale, theatre is multi-dimensional. So have a read, and then look at the stars afterwards.
Okay, fine, but how many stars do you give it? Click here