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Marie Curie | Charing Cross Theatre

Marie Curie is a gut-wrenching show following the life of pioneering scientist Marie Sklodowska-Curie. With larger-than-life musical numbers and harrowing staging, every audience member was left gripping their seat. The show is groundbreaking, taking a subject matter that surely should not work as a musical, and making a beautiful but harrowing tribute to Curie and the workers who sadly lost their lives.

 

The talent that graced the stage is second to none, and more specifically that of Ailsa Davidson who played Marie Curie herself. Davidson is a force to be reckoned with, not only does she have bucketloads of talent, performing difficult songs flawlessly, but she also has the ability to connect with the audience in a deep and beautiful way. She captured the essence of the part perfectly and certainly did such an important woman justice.


Another star that gave a harrowingly beautiful performance was Chrissie Bhima. She wowed the audience with her incredible voice as well as harnessing so much power that she plunged the audience into a stunned, emotional state. Her performance was absolutely heartbreaking and conveyed the importance of the story that was being told, that of the people usually pushed to the sidelines when this story is told. Her character and performance certainly gave a lasting impact, a statement that can be extended to the rest of this brilliant cast.


The lighting (Prema Metha) is something that is very unique about Marie Curie. There were two moments that really stood out, the first one ties in with choreography (by Joanna Goodwin) and was a moment in which radium was being celebrated, and the cast performed a dance holding small objects that were glowing green. With dim lighting, this was incredible to watch and held the audience captivated.

The second moment created a harrowing atmosphere like no other, and this was the use of silhouettes as the plot changed from one of hope and advancements to that of death and loss. This perfectly presented the heartbreak of the situation in an arguably simple way, but nothing could have been more effective. It created a haunting imagery that surely will not be leaving anybody’s mind in a hurry.



The design of the set (Rose Montgomery) was also incredibly interesting. With moving parts and little to no blackouts, it was a tough job to ensure that the changing of set pieces was done successfully, but the way it was incorporated into the show added to the atmosphere and enhanced the performance. The set appeared simple, with chalkboards and science equipment being nowhere near glamorous, but clearly, every piece was designed and made precisely. Everything ran smoothly and although the performers were visible when moving the set, it did not appear out of place.


As mentioned earlier, this green light to portray radium was used to create excitement by being part of the dynamic choreography. But it was also used as part of the costume design (Rose Montgomery), with splashes of it on the deceased workers' clothing, as well as their faces. This haunting addition left the theatre in a state of stunned awe, what once was beautiful becoming terrifying.


The music (Jongyoon Choi) was not particularly catchy, but that was not the point of the piece. The songs were spellbound, holding the audience in the palm of their hands, as the performers belted beautiful notes and executed harmonies to perfection. The songs perfectly captured the heartbreak, desperation, and hope of the characters and transported the audience into their mindset and into their narrative.


The overall direction (Sarah Meadows) was perfect, every piece of this show’s puzzle was slotted together so flawlessly and kept the audience hooked for the duration of the show. The staging, the choreography, the songs, were all brought together in a perfectly blended way. The show moved at a good pace and there was always something drawing your eye for all the right reasons, there was never a dull moment.

 

Marie Curie is a story that needs to be told, and this production has certainly done it well. It is a show more moving and chilling than words can do complete justice. From beginning to end you will be in a state of amazement, whether it’s inspiration or horror. Marie Curie takes you on an emotional journey like no other, one that will certainly not be forgotten any time soon. Marie Curie is running at the Charing Cross Theatre until 28th July. For tickets and more information, you can follow the link here.

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