Music Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics Craig Carnelia
Book John Guare
Based on the novella by Ernest Lehman and the MGM/United Artists film with a screenplay by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman
1952, New York’s number one gossip columnist JJ Hunsecker rules the city with his mighty pen. If you want to know the latest gossip – from the President to the latest It Girl – JJ has it all. If he doesn’t, you can be sure that anyone from J Edgar Hoover and Senator Joe McCarthy through to the press agents eager to push their latest clients, will give it to him.
And there’s one struggling press agent Sidney Falcone, with one client who has given him an ultimatum – no item in JJ’s column, no job.
Nominated for seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Sweet Smell of Success is the Broadway musical about the power of the poison pen and double dealings in the world of journalism. Olivier Award-winning actor David Bamber (My Night with Reg, Rome) makes his Arcola Theatre debut in this first major production since Broadway.
Sweet Smell of Success is presented by arrangement with Samuel French Ltd.
BEST New Musical
The made BEST Choreographer
The Autograph BEST Original Music
Go here to cast your vote http://awards.whatsonstage.com/awards/vote
A BOLD AND BOOMING MUSICAL STORM THAT FEELS FIT TO BURST RIGHT OUT OF ARCOLA AND ON THE WEST END
“A production that flaunts a smart and edgy razzle-dazzle cut with murky violence…the cast is first-rate, particularly [David] Bamber as the godfather of gossip…[and] a superb Caroline Keiff. The band is cooking and Hamlisch’s music tumble forward on a relentless beat, backed by Nathan M Wright’s pinpoint choreography. Craig Carnelia’s incisive lyrics are a perfect fit, as cool and dynamic as Hamlisch’s jazz-inflected score. Mehmet Ergen’s production is a bold and booming musical storm that feels fit to burst right out of Arcola and on the West End.”
Time Out ★★★★
A COMPELLING EVENING, BRILLIANTLY STAGED
“This is a compelling evening, brilliantly staged by the Arcola Artistic director Mehmet Ergen…the jazzy pulse of the score and the frenetic, knotty pace of the plot are snappily and stylishly serve by a bustling company of 16. Watch out too for Celia Graham, sensational as (Sidney’s) girlfriend Rita… The costumes are pure Mad Men but it’s madness – and badness – of men who weigh human worth in column inches alone that’s the show’s hypnotic central attraction.” Telegraph ★★★★
BOLD AND JAZZY
“Stuart Matthew Price is masterful…similarly excellent is Celia Graham… Wonderfully mopping up a handful of minor scene-setting roles is Russell Morton… Hamlisch’s melodies are bold and jazzy and Bob Broad’s direction of his pitch-perfect 7-piece band is a beautiful evocation of time and place.” The Public Reviews
“An unsavourily-plotted antidote to Guys and Dolls…Mehmet Ergen directs a cracking, energetic production with outstanding choreography… Bamber heads a superb company… Mark Bailey’ monochrome design is coolly detailed and makes good use of the double-height space… Highlight of the night is definitely the ensemble choreography by Australian Nathan M Wright…there’s an inventiveness and intensity of both design and execution here that really pushes the envelope. Hamlisch’s score is clever and rich…Craig Carnelia’s lyrics are pin-sharp. Brilliant production.” One Stop Arts
A JOYOUS MUSICAL
“The engaging and fine-voiced Adrian de Gregorian…Bamber’s acting credentials particularly shine…Above all this is a joyous musical, its dark moments lifted by lovely singing of super tunes by the late Marvin Hamlisch, matched by witty and clever lyrics that enhance the space between musical numbers…the small ensemble is a joy…there is a star turn from Monroe-esque Celia Graham…Director Mehmet Ergen and his team capture perfectly the burgeoning cult of celebrity and paparazzi.” British Theatre Guide
SOME OF THE BEST SINGING I’VE HEARD IN THEATRE ALL YEAR
“A brilliantly realised condemnation of unregulated power and misplaced ambition…Marvin Hamlisch’s music and Craig Carnelia’s sophisticated, witty and heartrending lyrics are done full justice by some of the best singing I’ve heard in theatre all year…every word matters, as every note is hit. There is also a showstopping song and killer punchline from Celia Graham. It’s ridiculous that it has taken ten years for this work to cross the Atlantic – music, lyrics, singing, dancing, costumes and (above all) the Shakespearean sweep of its storyline make for a tremendously stimulating night. It’s hard-edged stuff – but it’s pin-sharp too.” Broadwayworld ★★★★
BEST MUSICAL ON THE FRINGE
“Every now and again a real stunner comes along and, for now, the title of best musical on the fringe has to go to Sweet Smell of Success. This is a smart musical for grown-ups…you don’t often get plots this strong in a musical and it should reach out to those the genre doesn’t normally appeal to. Ergen’s production takes advantage of all this: the sound is impressively big, with clear delivery, clever staging and adventurous choreography by Nathan M Wright…Caroline Keiff is wonderful…and she has great chemistry with Stuart Matthew Price’s Dallas. It is the latter who will really win you over with a scrupulous performance and some stupendous singing that should not be missed.” The London Magazine
A CRACKING BRITISH PREMIERE
“The exposed steelwork and bare bricks of the Arcola, combined with Mark Bailey’s simple yet inventive monochrome design and David Howe’s dynamic lighting, conjures perfectly the smoky world of the jazz clubs and backstreets of fifties New York where all the glitz is undercut by brutal violence.” FourthWall Magazine ★★★★
“The British premiere at the Arcola manages the paradoxical feat of now being sensationally successful in its queasily exhilarating portrait of the steamy underworld of celebrity journalism in 1950’s America…. Susan [portrayed by] the radiantly voiced Caroline Keiff and her secret boyfriend Dallas [portrayed by] Stuart Matthew Price, one of our very best singers…skilful designer Mark Bailey creates stunning new vistas…Nathan M. Wright’s choreography also works wonders in this small space to give the show propulsive movement…the result is another stunning fringe rediscovery of a seriously underrated Broadway show that comes into gleaming focus.” The Stage
SLICK, POLISHED UK PREMIERE
“Mehmet Ergen offers this Tony Award-nominated piece a slick, polished UK premiere, the stand-out aspect of which is the sparkling ensemble choreography.” The Evening Standard
A REAL TREAT
“I saw the 2002 Broadway premiere starring John Lithgow (directed by Nicholas Hytner), loved it, and have wanted to see the show again ever since. Mehmet Ergen’s production does not disappoint, creating a steamy noir atmosphere with the help of a savvy band (musical direction by Bob Broad), snappy and inventive choreography by Nathan M. Wright and great black and white design by Mark Bailey…[Hamlisch’s score] absolutely bristles (with sharp lyrics by Craig Carnelia)…der Gregorian and Keiff seem to me genuinely exciting new musical theatre names, and the chorus sings and sidles up a storm…a fringe blast-off. A real treat.” Whatsonstage.com ★★★★
A FABULOUS JAZZY SCORE
“…a fabulous jazzy score from Marvin Hamlisch and some killer lines. There’s a terrific band, some choreography that kicks up a storm in a small space, and a cast who offer some lovely performances: Caroline Keiff and Stuart Matthew Price are very fine as the lovers, I enjoyed Celia Graham’s Marilyn Monroe-style turn as Rita, and David Bamber quietly embraces the darkness of JJ.” The Guardian
“A brilliant show, well worth of being given a chance to live up to its full potential on a west end stage” West End Wilma ★★★★
WORTH OF THE MOST FAMOUS OF WEST END BOARDS
“Show numbers and choreography worthy of the most famous of West-End boards” Gay Times ★★★★
TOP-NOTCH AND FIRST-RATE
“The ensemble cast is top-notch in the sharp-shooting choreographed numbers …and their singing and orchestration first-rate. It has great music, and searing story-line and sub-plot, with a strange bitter-sweet quality that remains long after the final curtain call” Extra Extra
“Superb cast of sixteen…a real fringe treat that pulsates with energy and reaps ripe rewards” Exeunt ★★★★
PREVIEW AUDIENCES ALSO LOVED SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS
“This is not a fringe musical,not even a great fringe musical but a a full copper bottomed Broadway/West End show. The cast were sublime, David Bamber playing against his usual type as JJ Gives a deliciously slimy performance and the two other male leads , both Mountview graduates with beautiful but completely contrasting voices,Adrian de Gregorian and Stuart Matthew Price, also stood out in this great cast. If it were possible to give 6 stars I would!!!….and all this at only the second preview!!” Chris Kyd ★★★★★
“The music, the staging and the talent on stage was all inspirational. My friend & I were blown away. Such a timely and energetic production. All involved deserve real recognition..” Maggie Sawkins
Saturday Matinees: 10, 17, 24 Nov; 1, 8, 15, 22 Dec at 2:30pm
Preview performances: 9, 10, 12, 13 November
Tickets: £25 (£18 concessions), Matinees £22 (£15 concessions), Preview performances – all tickets £18.
Limited seats available as Pay What You Can on Tuesdays from 6:30pm in person at Arcola Theatre.