London Theatre TicketsMusicalsOpening NightOpening Night's Sheridan Smith impresses in preview showings

Opening Night's Sheridan Smith impresses in preview showings

Jenifer

Opening Night first hit the scene as an avant-garde psychological drama in 1977. Written and directed by John Cassavetes, the film struggled to find an audience. It would become a cult classic in the '90s, giving it a second wind and bringing it to award shows and the stage. Its latest iteration is a West End production starring Sheridan Smith.

Much like its predecessor, early previews have drawn mixed reactions. But the musical, just like the film, isn't your standard flashy production and, understandably, it won't make a splash right away - it's the kind of slow burn one can expect from a story like this. But if there's one thing critics and fans can agree on, it's Smith's performance.

"Close to the bone"

Opening Night tells the story of a troubled actress, Myrtle, and the troubled production she leads through previews leading up to opening night. An ironic twist of fate, given the real-life production mirroring this story. But the comparisons get more eerie when one notes the similarities between Myrtle's psychological decline through the film and Smith's struggles with mental health, a comparison the actress herself drew in recent interviews.

Smith has experienced a gamut of struggles, including alcohol and anxiety. Myrtle goes through quite the same, though the triggering events are different for each woman. Nonetheless, Opening Night tells a deeply emotional story of aging, trauma, grief, addiction, and above all, resilience, and triumph. There isn't anyone who could portray this quite like Smith, which the actress proved beyond a doubt in preview showings of the musical.

Sam Marlowe of The Stage notes, "Myrtle, the rapidly unravelling star, is played by Sheridan Smith with an arresting blend of wit, bravado, frustration and vulnerability, the camera tracking her every nuance of expression." The star is right at home on this stage, bringing authenticity and nuance to a character who is as difficult to love as she is to play. Yet, one finds themselves sympathizing with her struggles and cheering her on, hoping she overcomes it all and makes her grandstand on opening night.

Opening Night will run through 27 July this year at the Gielgud Theatre.

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Opening Night
MUSICALS
4.2(1)

Opening Night

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