An American in Paris – Dominion Theatre, London

Undoubtedly some of the best experiences (concerts, theatre, restaurants, etc) are when you enter with medium expectations but the production over-delivers. That was the case for An American in Paris in the London production at Dominion Theatre. I knew the George and Ira Gershwin songs are timeless, and I expected competent dancing.

But all elements of the production were brilliant, exceeding expectations.

At the top the list were stand out performances from the two leads. In the titular role was Robert Fairchild, whose singing and dancing was almost jaw dropping. Opposite him Leanne Cope, the muse for the three male lead characters. Her ability to evoke the complex and conflicting emotions was impressive. Also impressive was David Seadon-Young, the other American lead and narrator, through whose eyes we are told the story.

The musical’s opening sequence evolves from charcoal grays as the Nazis are purged from Paris, then into full colors as life slowly returns to normal. The increasingly impressive set production (by Bob Crowley) reaches its apogee in the second half of the play. Subtle digital production (by 59 Productions) amplifies the scrims as they fly in and out.

Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope In An American In Paris at The Dominion Theatre

Two dream sequences trigger a veritable explosion of light and color, drawing us into the characters’ visions. The second half of play is even stronger than the first, with the engrossing plot kept tightly wound until very late, and then adroitly resolved.

The direction and choreography by Christopher Wheeldon is stunning. The show in London is presently scheduled to run until at least January 2018. I can’t vouch for other productions, but the 28 five star reviews already garnered can now add another to the tally.

(Photos by Johan Persson)

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.