Flowers for Mrs Harris, 5 Stars

FLOWERS FOR MRS. HARRIS
Riverside Studios
12th Oct to 23rd Nov 2023

“Olivier Award-winning legend Jenna Russell stars in the London premiere of the critically acclaimed musical, FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS this autumn. For Ada Harris, day-to-day life is spent cleaning houses. But one day when she is working for a wealthy client in Belgravia, she happens upon a Dior dress that takes her breath away.

In that magical moment, Ada has an epiphany and sets off on a journey that will change her life… From the cobbled streets of post-war London to the magical avenues of Paris and beyond, Ada transforms the lives of everyone she meets along the way, but can she let go of her past and finally let her own life blossom?”

Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars

This new musical is a rare breed – a truly magnificent musical that was born and bred in the UK. With support from various institutions and creative people it’s been delicately nurtured and blossomed into something quite remarkable! Built on an impressive scale, it sits nicely in the Riverside Studios but could hold it’s own in the West End or on a tour of the regionals!

Really strong casting, led by the brilliant Jenna Russell. Apart from Mrs Harris herself who remains as Mrs Harris throughout, every other cast member has at least two character roles, all done well, but Kelly Price is just outstanding. Her portrayals of Lady Dant and Madame Colbert are delicious.

The set design is sophisticated and detailed. Indoors and outdoor scenes occur with strong direction keeping it all clear as to where we are. There is a central revolve which, along with changes of central set pieces, adds ever more depth and layers to the cleverness of the design. The costumes are grand and luxurious and match the characterisations of the actors.

Musically it’s a dream. Strong characterisations maintained through all the lyrics, accents and vocals are a treat.

The lighting design is beautifully integrated into the set and production. Gorgeous palette choices, perfect levels to see the facial expressions with always the right amount of background lighting. Similarly with the Sound design – radio mics that are mixed to just the right level for the backstage band.

With a few setbacks and challenges to the story, flawed characters and fall-outs, there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on. The book tackles personal desires and inspirations and this book, in the hands of this cast and creative team, have made it into a beautifully crafted musical.

Photo credit: Pamela Raith

Ada Harris – Jenna Russell
Albert/Marquis de Chassagne – Hal Fowler
Violet/French Char Lady – Annie Wensak
Bob/AndrĂ© – Nathanael Campbell
Pamela/Natasha – Charlotte Kennedy
Major/Monsieur Armand (cover Albert/Marquis de Chassagne) – David McKechnie
Countess/Sybil Sullivan (cover Lady Dant/Madame Colbert) – Pippa Winslow
Lady Dant/Madame Colbert – Kelly Price
Ensemble (cover Bob/AndrĂ©) – Harry Singh
Ensemble (cover Pamela Natasha) – Issy Khogali
Ensemble (cover Major/Monsieur Armand) – Richard Morse
Ensemble (cover Ada Harris, Violet/French Char Lady, Countess/Sybil Sullivan) – Abigail Williams

Director – Bronagh Lagan
Musical Director – Jonathan Gill
Movement Director – Anjali Mehra
New Orchestrations – Jason Carr
Set Designer – Nik Corrall
Costume Designer – Sara Perks
Costume Supervisor – Trish Wilkinson
Assistant Director – Teenie Macleod
Lighting Designer – Adam King
Sound Designer – Charlie Smith
Casting Director – Jane Deitch
Production Manager – Felix Davies
Producer – Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment
Producer & General Manager – Ollie Hancock for Tiny Giant Productions