End of the Rainbow – Review

Judy Garland is one of the most iconic stars of all time. Remembered by generations as ‘the girl who walked down the yellow brick role’, Judy was epitome of 1940s Hollywood and all the happy go lucky musicals that came along with it. In her personal life though nothing could be further than the truth…

Image by Pamela Raith

Image by Pamela Raith

It’s that side of Garland the audience is exposed to in the brilliant stage show End of the Rainbow, currently on tour across the UK. The slick production charts Judy’s final performances at London’s Talk of the Town before her tragic death in 1969 from an overdose of sleeping pills.

Lisa Maxwell more than rises to the challenge of playing the once-glittering star hoping to make a comeback . The actress, best know for her time in The Bill and on the Loose Women panel is spellbinding as Judy, perfecting her mannerisms to a tee. Maxwell delivers an outstanding performance not only in her acting but also in delivering some superb vocals as she belts out Garland classics such as The Trolley Song, The Man That Got Away and an emotionally charged Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

Image by Pamela Raith

Image by Pamela Raith

There’s not a weak link to be seen in this musical play, which is essentially a three man cast. Maxwell’s fellow performers include musical theatre veteran Gary Wilmot who sensitively plays Judy’s devoted accompanist and former Eastenders and Dancing on Ice champion Sam Attwater who acts out of his skin as her manipulative young fiancé.

Credit must go to Peter Quilter who penned End of Rainbow as it delivers a hugely entertaining script which makes you laugh at Judy’s potty mouth one liners and cry at witnessing her fragility and destructive addictions. This is certainly a ‘go-see’ production which totally deserves the standing ovations it has been getting from audiences every performance.

End of the Rainbow runs at the Opera House, Manchester until 7th May
To find out where you can catch the rest of the tour go to www.endoftherainbowtour.co.uk

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