The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

I’ve only seen the briefest of clips of the original 1964 through-sung film
but it had such poignancy that the tune has remained with me ever since.

Emma Rice’s adaptation for Kneehigh doesn’t really pull off the magic,
adding a superfluous framework and a trio of cheeky matelots which are
strangely at odds with the innocence of the thwarted central romance
between car mechanic Guy and his teenage sweetheart Genevieve. He’s called
up to fight in Algeria, her mother (Joanna Riding) doesn’t approve, and life
leads them down divergent paths.

Ironically it’s only the closing sequences and cabaret artist Meow Meow’s
imported solo which truly evoke a sense of love lost. Elsewhere there’s too
much striving for originality and, although they sing sweetly, there’s no
real chemistry between the lovers.


Gielgud, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6AR (0844 482 5130)
Tube: Piccadilly Circus;
Booking until October 1
£19.50 – £59.50

– Louise Kingsley