The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Musical with book by Jacques Demy, music by Michel Legrand, original lyrics by Jacques Demy, English lyrics by Sheldon Harnick with Charles Burr, additional lyrics by Norman Gimbel, based on the movie directed by Jacques Demy.

1980: West End London Premiere at the Phoenix Theatre

2011: 1st West End London Revival at the Gielgud Theatre

The film Les parapluies de Cherbourg was released in 1964 and featured Catherine Deneuve as 'Genevieve', and Nino Castelnuovo as 'Guy Foucher'.


1980: West End London Premiere

Previewed 1 April 1980, Opened 10 April 1980, Closed 19 April 1980 at the Phoenix Theatre

The cast featured Susan Gene as 'Genevieve Emery', Martin Smith as 'Guy Foucher', Simon Masterton-Smith as 'Roland Cassard', Shelia Mathews as 'Madame Emery', Michele Summers as 'Madeleine', Helen Landis as 'Aunt Elise', Chris Dyson as 'Pierre'/'Minister'/'Cafe Owner', Dudley Owen as 'Bernard'/'Waiter', John Turtle as 'Aubin'/'Postmaster'/'Stationmaster', Kathy Dunkerley as 'Madame Germaine', Mandi Martin as 'Garage customer', Nicky Furre as 'Jenny', Philip Tsaras as 'Jean', Ray Paul as 'Dubourg', David Hitchen, Kevin Grant, Sarah Payne, and Susanna Page.

Directed by Andrei Serban, with choreography by Kate Flatt, sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Jane Greenwood, and lighting by David Hersey.

Based on Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival production which opened at New York's Public Theatre on 1 Februry 1979, and run for 13 regular performances.

This production run for just 12 performances, and 8 previews, for a total of 20 performances.


2011: 1st West End London Revival

Previewed 5 March 2011, Opened 22 March 2011, Closed 21 May 2011 at the Gielgud Theatre

Kneehigh Theatre present the musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg in London starring Joanna Riding and Meow Meow

Adapted for the stage by by Emma Rice from the 1964 Jacques Demy film.

The cast featured Carly Bawden as 'Genevieve Emery', Andrew Durand as 'Guy Foucher', Joanna Riding as 'Madame Emery', Meow Meow as 'Maitresse', Cynthia Erivo as 'Madeleine', Aki Omoshaybi as 'Postman'/'Sailor/'Animator', Dominic Marsh as 'Roland Cassard'/'Aunt Elise', Gareth Charlton as 'Dubourg'/'Sailor'/'Animator', Laura Brydon as 'Madame Germaine'/'Angry Customer', Matt Wilman as 'Barman'/'Sailor'/'Animator', Chris Jenkins, and Gillian Budd.

Directed and choreographed by Emma Rice, with designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Malcolm Rippeth, and sound by Simon Baker.

Prior to London's West End this production, with the same cast, was presented at the Leicester Curve Theatre from Friday 11 February to Saturday 26 February 2011.

Joanna Riding's London theatre credits include 'Mrs Wilkinson' in Stephen Daldry's production of the Elton John and Lee Hall musical Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2008; 'Ruth Condomine' in Thea Sharrock revival of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit at the Savoy Theatre in 2004; 'Eliza Doolittle' in Trevor Nunn's revival of the musical My Fair Lady Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2001; 'Jane Smart' in the Eric Schaeffer's production of the John Dempsey and Dana Rowe musical The Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2000; Fiona Laird's revival of Joan Littlewood's Oh! What A Lovely War at the Bernie Spain Gardens and the Roundhouse in 1998; 'Miss Sarah Brown' in Richard Eyre's revival of Frank Loesser's Guys and Dolls at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre in 1996; 'Anne Egerman' in Sean Mathias' revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre in 1995; 'Julie Jordan' in Nicholas Hytner's revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 1992, and transfer to the West End's Shaftesbury Theatre in 1993; 'Susie Trevor' in Ian Talbot's revival of the George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin musical Lady Be Good at the Regent's Park's Open Air Theatre in 1992; and 'Sally' in Mike Ockrent's revival of Noel Gay's Me and My Girl at the Adelphi Theatre in 1991.

"Jacques Demy's bittersweet 1964 classic film about a boy forced to leave his girlfriend and go to fight in Algiers has an elusive, candy-coloured visual magic. The best thing about Emma Rice's not entirely successful adaptation is that it doesn't try to copy it: instead she conjures up her own, dreamy, shape-shifting fantasia set... Rice's beguiling stage craft, however, only points up the conspicuously weak plot, whose boy-meets-girl dynamic could do with rather more ballast than it gets here. Carry Bawden's Genevieve has an affecting, strident innocence, although Andrew Durand's Guy merely looks desperately young and the pair never quite attain the star-crossed lovers poignancy that's so crucial to this show's elemental sense of romance." The London Metro

"The sorry phenomenon of films being turned into plays continues with the stage version of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. It had worked as a film because of a wonderful hat trick of great cinematography, Michel Legrand's music, and - above all - Catherine Deneuve in the leading role. The stage version amounts to nothing more than theatrical muzak. Boy in the form of Andrew Durand meets girl in the form of Carly Bawden and complications, set to music, ensue. It is all a bit like some old bore in a pub trying to tell you about a great film he has seen, and, of course, it isn't quite the same thing as seeing it for yourself... Emma Rice, the director, adaptor and choreographer, kicks things off with a performer named Meow Meow doing a sort of Vicki Michelle routine out of 'Allo 'Allo but without the laughs. Just as every effort ought to be made to suppress indigestion in polite company, so, too, should Kneehigh try to keep its vulgar flights of fancy under some degree of control." The Sunday Telegrah

"I don't want to rain on the parade of The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg - there's much to enjoy in this often spectacularly well-staged show - but I wish director Emma Rice had allowed this enchanting story to speak for itself... First you have to endure a gratuitous warm-up act by cabaret artiste Meow Meow... It's all supposed to get us in the mood, but it's charmless... Carly Bawden's Genevieve and Andrew Durand's Guy both sing well, but neither has that breathtaking dreamboat quality. Joanna Riding is good as Genevieve's hard-nosed mother... There are too few Dolly Mixture-coloured umbrellas around - and too many black ones. And why is Guy's darling ailing Aunt Elise played by a man? It's not clever, not funny, just distracting. Still, Legrand's rich, complex, playful score - magnificently played here - never fails to ravish and transport, as it always has and always will." The Mail on Sunday

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 5 March 2011, opened on 22 March 2011, and closed on 21 May 2011 (was originaly booking up to 1 October 2011).