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End of The Rainbow - One4Review

Most people will be aware of the legend that was ‘Judy Garland’ if not from her music then from her movies. The film the Wizard of Oz gave us probably the best known Garland song ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ voted number 1 in the American Film Institute "100 Years… 100 Songs" in which four other Garland songs are featured. This was also the number that she chose to finish every concert. In the show ‘End of The Rainbow’ this is exactly what we get a glimpse into the last few months in the life of Judy Garland.

From the first moment of the show when we think Judy (Caroline O’Connor) is about to jump from the window of her room in The Ritz Hotel London, to the finale performance of ‘Over the Rainbow’ at one of her last concerts at The Talk Of The Town, we are taken on a rollercoaster of emotions for the performers and audience alike, punctuated by occasional musical numbers. We meet her pianist Anthony Chapman (Jonathan Gavin) as camp as camp can be ,but ever faithful and totally in love with his idol, desperate to protect her he clashes with her and her latest fiancée Mickey. Mickey Deans (Michael Cormick) was Garland’s final husband. Their first meeting in a nightclub and subsequent engagement within 24 hours, was something I was not aware of. Within the confines of the show we see the clashes of personality, the fights for supremacy, the battles against addictions and the affection between the two characters. Caroline O’Connor has appeared in many musicals all over the world as well as in films one of my personal favourites is ‘Moulin Rouge’, in these she has had several comedy roles. The part of Judy Garland is on the whole a tragic character, but there are moments of almost slapstick comedy, where we find ourselves laughing, whether one should find it funny or not. Her singing voice is superb, but when called for it is almost, broken. At the end of the show she has to take a moment to come to herself, fortunately her co-stars take their bows at that time. The three performers are joined by a small live band which Jonathan leads and conducts during the performance. At one point in the show we have the band join the performers on stage. Beautifully written by Peter Quilter and directed by Wayne Harrison, with a set that is versatile in its simplicity and effectiveness. Whether a Garland fan or not this should be one show you should not miss. We were told as children that we would find gold at the ‘End of The Rainbow’ its true! *****

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