Standing ovation for Titanic the musical
PUBLISHED: 15:00 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:16 22 July 2019
Daniel Faust Photography
Havering Music Makers (HMM) took to the stage for the first performance at Queen's Theatre of Titanic.
In James Cameron's iconic 1997 blockbuster, the audience follows the fateful journey of the Titanic through the fictional love story of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. In the musical based on the book by Peter Stone, the focus is on real individual stories of families from different classes across the ship.
The passengers proclaim their different dreams and aspirations in the opening scene; Maury Yeston's catchy melodies and conversational lyrics sweep us along as we hear their stories.
From the Irish passengers in third class embarking on an American dream to Alice Beane (Ellen O'Shea) in second class who sees the trip an opportunity to mingle with the upper classes and marvels at their elaborate dresses and furs.
The show was initially thought to be too big a feat for the Music Makers but the team were immediately on board and their enthusiasm brought it to life at the theatre in Billet Lane, Hornchurch.
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At the helm of the project was chairwoman Sue Howlett. She said: "This show was first mooted over drinks at a pub in Hornchurch, it was thought too big a project but either wine or good humour prevailed and it was decided to put it to the membership.
"The cast really engaged with the show, researching stories and related to their characters. An enthusiastic bunch of 23 HMM members went to Belfast in May to see the Titanic exhibition, such was their interest in finding out more about the history."
Sue also played Eliza, the wife of the owner of New York's department store, Macy's. They both perished in the disaster.
If you are expecting to see huge waterworks, pyrotechnics galore or a musical version of the James Cameron film, you may be disappointed but this story is about the real lives and stories of the people who were aboard the RMS Titanic.
It also marvellously illustrates a snapshot of 1912 society, with its rigid class divides and beautifully authentic and detailed costumes, from the ladies' lace dresses to the engine workers' charcoal smeared vests.
An evocative and moving performance, the standing ovation following this show spoke for itself.