Chariots of Fire at the Gielgud Theatre, London
The cult 1981 film takes to the stage - rather well.
Well, Itchy was impressed. Chariots of Fire at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, was an engaging and well paced performance, with a cast of very talented actors - not only did they act impeccably, but they ran, sang and played instruments... oh and some of them danced too. Basically they were the multitasking A Team of the acting world.
The production charts the story of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, two wannabe Olympic runners in 1924, each influenced by their own religious and family backgrounds. Interspersing actual running (around the audience, in some cases, thanks to a clever traverse set) with short, sharp, cinematic scenes and the odd Gilbert and Sullivan number, it's quite an assault on the senses. From the starting gun to the finish line, Itchy watched the story unfold with rapt attention.
Every single person involved in this production needed high energy throughout, but special mention goes to the actor playing Lord Andrew Lindsay who managed to hurdle not one, but three times over a hurdle complete with precariously balanced champagne glasses. (We noticed that he could also play the trumpet. He's a keeper.) Praise also for the fabulous cymbal player at the start of the second act - comedy timing galore.
Itchy reckons that tourists, Olympic spectators and Londoners alike will enjoy Chariots of Fire this summer. We are still of the opinion that, in the words of one of the girls in the show, "running is for children and hamsters"... but we still highly recommend this show. We were moved, amused and inspired by it - what more can you ask of two and a half hours at the theatre? Indeed.
Visit the Gielgud Theatre website for show times and tickets.