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Review | Titanic | The Lowry | 04/07/2023

Some might wonder why there is a musical about Titanic. The same however could have initially been said about the 1997 film, which later became the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark. In fact, the development of this show had begun before the blockbuster was even released. This musical doesn’t follow the fictional events of the film, but carves out its own narrative.

As the musical begins, great effort is made to appreciate the grandeur and scale of the ill-fated ship. Crew shout out vast checklists of the food required onboard. Guests file in, class by class through the auditorium aisles, making the audience feel like we are all passengers on the touted ‘unsinkable ship.’ The lighting by Howard Hudson’s was perfectly executed, helping dictate the mood and even temperature after disaster struck. It would have been more interesting if the static set changed to give a more visual representation of the various parts of the ship, rather than rely so heavily on audiences’ imagination. There was however a great use of set in Act 2 which this review won’t spoil!

It is hard not to compare it to James Horner’s legendary score for the film, which still invoked emotional responses after many a rewatch. The music here sadly doesn’t have the same impact. Had a fuller band been used, this may have given the music greater depth and potentially more impact. Unfortunately, it was difficult to remember much of the music at the end of the evening.

With emphasis placed on an abundance of different characters, rather than any lead characters to connect with, the first act could have been more engaging. The narrative however was stronger in Act 2 after the iceberg was hit. The audience felt the heartbreaking choice when a wife wouldn’t leave her husband when given the opportunity to get on a lifeboat without him. This culminated in one of the stronger songs of the show, ‘We’ll Meet Tomorrow.’ We root for the crew as they try desperately to locate other ships to rescue, using a then ‘new thing’ called an S-O-S signal. However, realism is given when they blame each other for the disaster. One of the more stirring moments occurs when men of different classes understand that class divide is meaningless, realising they aren’t going to be afforded a spot on a lifeboat.

Titanic sensitively tackles the famous disaster 101 years on. Focusing on issues around class, those lost and survivors guilt, it is a love letter to many of the forgotten voices. 'Titanic' is on at The Lowry until Saturday 08 July 2023, see below for booking information:

Note: My ticket was gifted. Irrespective of whether a show is gifted or bought, I always ensure that my reviews are fair and based on my honest opinion alone.


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