The five-time Tony Award-winning show Titanic The Musical sails into Northampton’s Derngate Theatre this week for its first ever tour of the UK. This is a stunning show covering a serious topic. Titanic is probably the best-known ship in the world but for all the wrong reasons. On her maiden voyage she hit an iceberg and many people died. Its an interesting topic not just because of the tragedy but also because of the class system. It’s a window into the past.
We open to an excited crowd of people who are planning their trip on the journey. Third class passengers who want to go to America to improve themselves, second class people who want to rub shoulders with first class on every occasion and of course the rich and powerful first class who have to be on such a luxury ship on its maiden voyage as it’s the thing to do. The excitement is palpable and those who are not travelling are told to disembark and they disembark into the aisles. It was wonderful sitting right next to someone singing. I felt almost a part of the show. The show itself is very professional and acted and sung to perfection. There are no flaws in the telling of this story. I would suggest it is more like Titanic The Opera than Titanic The Musical as almost everything is sung and the style is in keeping with the period and style of the show.
Of course, you are all wondering how they sink the Titanic on a stage – but I am not going to give that away. You will need to go and see it for yourself. This is a spectacular show of quality and taste. Anyone who knows the story will recognise the characters, Lightoller, Murdoch, Andrews, Ismay to name a few. The well-known story is there too. The captain was due to retire but couldn’t resist this last temptation to take a new ship to America and make headlines. Of course, Mr Andrews is proud of the ship he has built but is also aware of her limitations. Ismay is pressurising the captain at every opportunity to go faster and make history. He is now known to have got into one of the lifeboats and survived but was branded a coward for the rest of his years. Murdoch is the officer in charge when the iceberg hit and later famously shoots himself in the head, most probably from guilt. All the cast were fabulous and really brought the story to life. It was an emotional journey and I did feel a bit sad at the end when they share the names of all those who perished and the few survivors say a few words each. To know there was a ship in reach that could have saved them all is heart-wrenching – you want history to change so that they hear that distress call. I felt I learnt new things about the story. For example, all the bell boys perished which was shocking when you think they were only 14 or 15 years of age. In total 1517 people died on that terrible night of 14th April 1912.
The original Broadway production of Titanic The Musical won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. So, if you want to see a musical masterpiece of theatre, go and see Titanic The Musical.
At Royal and Dergate Theatre in Northampton until 30 June 2018.