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Review: In the Heights (King's Cross Theatre, London)

There's no doubting performer Faye Tester's passion for In the Heights. The GMT newcomer, who was brought to the company by her love of the show, recently travelled to London to see the imaginative West End production.

Musical theatre shows for me bring that little bit of magic to life, and I’ve been lucky enough to see numerous performances. Most recently I trained it to London for the weekend to catch the capital’s hottest new show In The Heights.

I was introduced to In the Heights by my tap teacher at dance college, Matt Flint, who incidentally went on to win BBC’s So You Think You Can Dance in 2011. What first excited me about the show was the music, a unique mix of Spanish, rap and classic musical theatre.

For those of you that don’t know the story of the show, here is a brief insight. A hard working, cash strapped community in Washington Heights struggle through daily life. When they find out that the local shop has sold a winning lottery ticket it sparks dreams and fantasies of what they would each do with the money. There are relationships, fights and daily dramas interspersed with Latin beats, raps and even a carnival, before it all culminates in an uplifting finale.

The London show was different to anything I’ve seen so far and the Kings Cross theatre where it was based just added to the vibe. The theatre is hidden just behind the busy Kings Cross train station and the foyer follows the train theme with the stage doors marked Platform 1a and 1b. Through the doors you walk along an actual railway track before making your away over the stage to your seat in the platform! As it’s such a small theatre, the performers are so close to the audience that every number gives you chills and you really connect with the characters.

Unlike a normal ‘straight facing’ show, the 2 platforms mean the audiences are facing each other. To make this work, the choreography and staging has to be innovative and constantly moving and it certainly lived up to this aspect. The overall show was a joy that left me in tears by the end and if you find yourself in London I’d definitely recommend seeing it. If you’re looking to keep up the street community vibe whilst in London head down to Camden market. Much like the show, Camden has a unique arty scene, filled with a bustle of unique shops and people.

So 3 things to take away from this;

  • See more musical theatre shows, even if it’s not one you would normally see.

  • Get yourself down to London to see the professionals work their stuff in Kings Cross Theatre.

  • Come see Glasgow Music Theatre’s take on this awesome show!

And remember to look out for different musical theatre venues in future, hopefully you will be lucky enough like me, to catch a once in a lifetime performance like Into the Woods which was held in Regents Park Open Air Theatre, London. Despite the rain and the need for constant waterproof poncho wearing, the performance was out of this world:

Glasgow Music Theatre will be bringing In the Heights to Eastwood Park Theatre, 26-30 January 2016. Visit the box office page of our website for details on how to come along and join the carnival.

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