Roman Holiday, Theatre Royal Bath Review

The classic film Roman Holiday which made an international star of Audrey Hepburn has been newly adapted for the stage and takes to the boards as a dazzling musical with a cast of eighteen. The story is charming; Ann, a young princess, visiting Rome gives her chaperone the slip and meets Joe, an American journalist and accepts his offer to show her around the beautiful and historic city. However, Joe’s news editor wants a story about the missing princess – will romance win out over duty and country or will it be a bittersweet fling for just one day and night?

A delightful frothy concoction of a love story pursued in a more courtly time to the backdrop of Cole Porter’s wonderful songs, In the Still of the Night, Just one of Those Things and You do Something to Me to name but three. Stunning costumes and elegant sets transport you effortlessly back to the 50’s and the chic life of ordinary Italians who are anything but ordinary.

The show opens at a night club where the vivacious and supremely confident Francesca is singing; Tania Mathurin plays this part superbly and has a great voice for the Cole Porter classics. Rebecca Collingwood is every inch the petite and fairytale princess who longs to sample just for one night the fun and unrestricted joy of normal life and escaping from her Countess aunt (Richenda Carey at her most imperious and commanding) does just that. Michael D.Xavier is everybody’s answer to a romantic lead in the old style; he looks great, sings great, and acts great, and the rapport between him and his princess makes the story all the more believable. Tim Frances and Adrian der Gregorian play his sidekicks, Hennessy the world-weary newspaper editor and Irving the photographer respectively.

The music is terrific as is the tightly choreographed dancing put in by the expert ensemble who effortlessly create life on the streets of Rome with its famous traffic chaos; one of the stars of the show was the gleaming turquoise Vespa which glided on centre stage and rivalled the princess for sleek lines and curvaceous beauty. We all wanted one there and then but like some Italian wines they don’t travel; “when in Rome” perhaps but not in Rotherham!

It’s a great show which we thoroughly enjoyed, full of fun and to be recommended as the perfect summer theatre.

Jacquie Vowles



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