London Theatre Review: An American in Paris

Date Posted: 24/03/2017

Laura Sexton left the West End in a dancing daze after reviewing An American in Paris at the Dominion Theatre.

Spotless. Mesmerising. Extraordinary. Those are just a few words that spring to mind when reflecting on An American in Paris. Everything about this show was utterly flawless, from the choreography and the precision of each step, to the melodies and cast.

When the show began and the opening routine started I was transported back to the 1940s. The audience sees an impeccably executed balletic dance number depicting lovers greeting each other after returning from the war. This sequence was moving in more ways than one: emotionally, certainly; and physically – well, the cast literally glided across the stage like blossom in the wind, effortlessly falling into each other’s arms. Meanwhile, the set effectively moved about to represent different scenes and the changing of time.

The storyline of An American in Paris follows three men in the aftermath of World War Two; two American veterans, and a Parisian who, despite his wealthy parents’ desires, wants to be a performer. Trouble occurs in the form of Lise, a beautiful French ballerina, with whom all three men are in love.

Pictured: (L-R) Robert Fairchild, David Seadon-Young and Haydn Oakley.

Jerry Mulligan, played by Robert Fairchild, the main protagonist is a confident, charming man who we see bump into Lise in the opening sequence of the show. His attempts to woo Lise leave her feeling uncertain as to who she should be with, especially as her role as Prima Ballerina could be compromised.

I point out Fairchild first because he is the most impressive male dancer I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Saying that, Leanne Cope who plays Lise, is equally as impressive. Her dainty ballet and bendy body made it seem as though she was made of elastic as she stretched and moulded herself into every routine, manipulating her body to suit every song and every step her feet took.

The other two main male parts are played by David Seadon-Young and Haydn Oakley. Seadon-Young was a personal favourite character of mine; he plays the character of Adam and narrates parts of the show. This narration creates a bond between the audience and the character, and despite his being a smaller part than that of Fairchild’s, the audience was rooting for him throughout. 

Oakley, meanwhile, plays the character Henri, and also gives a superb performance. Groups going to see this will especially enjoy the comedy provided by Oakley and Seadon-Young together. 

Further highlights for me included Zoe Rainey’s terrific performance as Milo, the rich American heiress who falls in love with Jerry. Rainey really stands out with her ability to bring both humour and emotion to her role. Despite having a seemingly confident and bubbly personality, we watch as she has to accept that the man she loves may not feel the same way about her.

Pictured: Zoe Rainey and Robert Fairchild and the cast of An American in Paris.

If you’re looking for a musical that has astounding dancing, and brilliant music, then An American in Paris should not be missed. When Fairchild, Oakley and Seadon-Young performed I Got Rhythm I don’t think I was alone in wanting to get out of my seat and dance along with them. And their later rendition of They Can’t Take That Away From Me warmed my heart as I sang along. 

The most impressive thing about this show is the cast’s talent and energy. At no point throughout the performance did anyone show any signs of tiring, making the show from start to finish a musical masterpiece. Simply put, An American in Paris is the most impressive and delightful musical I have ever had the privilege of watching. 

Catchy songs, expert dance numbers, the beautiful set and an amazingly talented cast: this show is a must for any group considering a future West End visit. My love for this show, well, they can’t take that away from me.

An American in Paris is currently showing at the Dominion Theatre in London’s West End, with booking available until 30th September. For more information on the show and group ticket rates, visit www.anamericaninparisthemusical.co.uk

facebook twitter