Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Review: Sunset Boulevard @ Palace Theatre, Manchester

Review: Sunset Boulevard @ Palace Theatre, Manchester

| By Edward Roberts

Terms such as ‘hotly-anticipated’ and ‘long-awaited’ are sometimes thrown around a little too often in the world of theatre. 

But all these clichéd expressions were more than appropriate when it came to Sunset Boulevard landing at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. 
The production – featuring songs penned by the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber – has enjoyed more than its fair share of success on Broadway, the West End and beyond since it first opened in 1993.
It’s based on the 1950 film of the same name. With Gloria Swanson in the title role, the movie famously picked up three awards at that year’s Oscars. 
There’s never a guarantee that a cinematic masterpiece – no matter how many accolades it has under its belt – will translate well from the screen to the stage.
STAR QUALITY: The cast ensure the story is in safe hands
However, Sunset Boulevard’s transition is as seamless as it is remarkable. 
First things first, Ria Jones is outstanding playing the part of fading actress Norma Desmond. 
The starlet clearly relishes bringing her own distinct flair to the role while also paying homage to her predecessor Swanson. 
From the minute she’s given the opportunity to shine, she wows with songs such as her first solo With One Look
The actress also nails those all-important lines that are ingrained in cinema history, including ‘I am big, it’s the pictures that got small’, and the much-quoted ‘All right Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up’.
Ria is sure to be met with many standing ovations before the final curtain falls for this show – and there’s no doubt she’ll deserve each and every one. 
It’s Strictly Come Dancing star Danny Mac who joins Ria on stage as down on his luck writer Joe Gillis.
The actor – famed for playing Dodger Savage on Hollyoaks – could easily have chosen to ride on the coattails of his marvellous co-star. Yet, he doesn’t. 
IMPRESSIVE: The ex-Hollyoaks star leaves a lasting impression 
Rather than standing in Ria’s shadow, Mac complements the leading lady by fully showcasing his own talents.  
It’s fair to say that he fully surpasses all expectations and the show wouldn’t have been the same without him at the helm. 
Putting the stars to one side, this production clearly doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to sights and sounds either.
The set is as professional as they come and manages to bring each new scene to life with ease. 
Meanwhile, the live orchestra – led by Adrian Kirk – is perhaps the jewel in the crown of this production. 
All in all, Sunset Boulevard seems so big budget, so well-rehearsed, so – dare we say – flawless. 
It truly is sensational in every way. 
*Sunset Boulevard is playing at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until Saturday, November 4. You can buy tickets HERE