The Fantasticks

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 24 May 2010, Opened 9 June 2010, Closed 26 June 2010 at the Duchess Theatre in London

A major revival of the musical The Fantasticks in London, featuring book, lyrics and music by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt and directed by Amon Miyamoto.

See the magical new West End production of America's legendary musical! - The Fantasticks tells an allegorical story, loosely based on the play The Romancers (Les Romanesques) by Edmond Rostand, concerning two neighboring fathers who put up a wall between their houses to ensure that their children fall in love, because they know children always do what their parents forbid. After the children do fall in love, they discover their fathers' plot and each go off and experience the world. Finally they return to each other and the love they had, having learned from the world to recognise their true feelings. The classic score features the songs Much More, I Can See It and Try To Remember.

The cast for The Fantasticks in London features David Burt, Clive Rowe, Hadley Fraser, Edward Petherbridge and Paul Hunter along with Lorna Want, Luke Brady and Carl Au. The production is directed and choreographed by Amon Miyamoto, with set designs by Rumi Matsui, costumes by Nicky Shaw, lighting by Rick Fisher, who recently won the 2009 Tony Award for 'Best Lighting Design of a Musical' for Billy Elliot, and sound by Mike Walker. David Burt's West End credits include the musical Napoleon at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2000.

"It's pleasing to report that Hadley Fraser is now back where he belongs: starring in the West End. He is the narrator in The Fantasticks and gets to sing the best songs, most notably Try to Remember... The story Fraser has to tell did not, if I am honest, especially grab me... still, under Amon Miyamoto's direction, it is done with great flair and it has a lot to commend it, not least a great comic double act from Edward Petherbridge and Paul Hunter,who seem to be performing Waiting for Godot as the show goes on around them. In its weird way, it's rather wonderful, but take Fraser out of the equation, and it would all fall flat on its face." The Sunday Telegraph

"The Fantasticks is the tale of an impossibly cute young girl, Luisa, and Matt, an impossibly cute boy-next-door, whose fathers (played by the divine Clive Rowe and the dangerous David Burt, both wasting their time) pretend to hate each other in order to turn their children into star-crossed lovers (like Romeo and Juliet). So the fathers build a huge wall, which is played by an actor, as in A Midsummer Night's Dream's play-within-a-play, Pyramus And Thisbe. The moon shines as a bright disc (more Dream) and travelling players (Hamlet) make their entrance and exit out of a travelling trunk and behave like Beckettian tramps or Shakespearian clowns... The single memorable song has the line: 'Try to remember that time in September... then follow.' Try as I might to follow, I not only lost the plot in the staggeringly tedious second half, I also lost the will to live. Played as pure whimsy, as light as thistledown, it might have worked - just. Only Edward Petherbridge's bemused and bewildered old player gets it right. In Amon Miyamoto's otherwise heavy-handed production, the fairydust twinkles and the snow made of white paper is lovely, but the rest was easily bettered by the loo paper and the shiny new hand-drier in the lavatory." The Mail on Sunday

"The eminent Japanese director Amon Miyamoto has breathed fresh life into it and The Fantasticks has risen from the grave, once again showering the stage with its particular brand of stardust... Hadley Fraser is excellent as the Narrator and the young lovers' fathers - a bullish Clive Rowe and a highly comedic David Burt - form a polished double act that would make a good show in itself. But when it comes to sheer scene-stealing the prize must go to the veteran Edward Petherbridge as the Old Actor with his failing memory and creaking bones. With his surreal companion, played scarily by Paul Hunter, they bring a different Waiting For Godot-esque aspect to the show. Rumi Matsui's set is the simplest - only two poles on an uncluttered stage - providing much atmosphere. Disappointingly the second half drags and it becomes too sugary - even the lyrics by Tom Jones (not that one) and Harvey Schmidt's music become a tad wearing. But go anyway. It is a gentle evening." The Daily Express

"In America this musical has run off-Broadway and in high school halls for 42 years... There are good reasons why it never caught on here. For one thing, the plot is as mad as a box of frogs. When it does start to make some sense, after the interval, its moral is cloyingly smalltown... It claims to be a mix of Edmond Rostand's Les Romanesques, Romeo and Juliet, Pyramus and Thisbe and Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore: a bouillabaisse of soggy romance... Is it fun? Sometimes. The young lovers are sweet, the music elegant. In the long clowning sequences Edward Petherbridge as an ancient actor effortlessly steals the scene every time he puts a foot on stage or does a Sinden boom, proving that to portray a terrible old ham you need a serious, un-hammy old pro. Hadley Fraser knocks out enough menace to dilute the flimsy whimsy." The Times

Apart from Edmond Rostand's The Romancers, elements of The Fantasticks story are drawn from the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore. The Fantasticks originally opened in 'off-Broadway' in New York on 3 May 1960 and played a total of 17,162 performances before closing on 13 January 2002 to become the longest running show of any kind in the United States and the longest running musical in the world. Since it's premiere in 1960 te musical has played in over 2000 cities and towns in the United States. Internationally there have been more than 700 productions in 67 countries. The production originally transferred to London's West End in 1961 when it opened at the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in September, but it only managed a one month run. More recently a production of The Fantasticks was presented in London's West End at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park as part of the theatre's 1990 Season.

The Fantasticks in London at the Duchess Theatre previewed from 24 May 2010, opened on 9 June 2010 and closes 26 June 2010 - was booking up to 5 September 2010.