When Harry Met Sally
(West End Production)
into this show, I knew I had to put aside my love of the movie of the same name.
I had to also put aside my love of the actors Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, who
played the main characters in the film.
I did and how glad I am, as this freed my mind and allowed me to enjoy a different take on such a wonderfully written piece.
In this reworking of the Hollywood movie, Beverly Hills 90210 star Luke Perry and American Pie's Alyson Hannigan (also of Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame) play the parts of Harry Burns and Sally Albright respectively.
Harry and Sally are two best friends who fear that sex will ruin a perfectly strong friendship. This prevents either one from making the move that will turn them into the lovers they are forever meant to be. Through many years of friendship and failed relationships they are brought closer and closer. But will they risk it all?
As I entered the auditorium, I was intrigued by a dazzlingly white bare stage, only occupied by a single heart shaped balloon. As the lights go down the naked stage disappears and in comes a fantastic opening musical number by new British jazz superstar Jamie Cullum.
The bare stage becomes a New York apartment, slick in so many ways. The design by Ultz is faultless, with the set gracefully moving from apartments to restaurants to bars to offices with such perfect ease. It makes for a perfect playground for the cast.
The wonderful script has been adapted from Norah Ephron's screenplay by Marcy Kahan. She keeps the warmth and charm created by Ephron and gives it a perfect theatrical touch. She has managed to bring to the stage a heart-warming love struggle and it works a treat.
Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan's screen characters were not only matched but also, at times, improved on by impressive performances from Perry and Hannigan.
I will admit to having pre-show doubts about the acting ability of Perry, due to his hammy turn in American teen show Beverly Hills 90210. But I can honestly say I was blown away by the way he commanded the stage with comic talent. He was warm, sexy, and brilliantly funny as Harry Burns.
Playing his love interest, Hannigan also delivered the goods with a great comic performance, bringing to life the beautiful but very hard to please Sally Albright.
With a show as funny, tender and beautiful as this I can only hope it runs for as long as possible. See it, embrace it and love it!
(23/07/04): MOLLY RINGWALD and MICHAEL LANDES are currently playing the
parts of Sally and Harry.
(c) J A Waddington 2004. For syndication rights, please email.
Stuff to buy:
Please click here for the dates of forthcoming performances