Watch Almodóvar's Women On The Verge And Relax Your Nerves

By Silvia Baretta Last edited 40 months ago
Watch Almodóvar's Women On The Verge And Relax Your Nerves ★★★★☆ 4
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WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN,             , Director Bartlett Sher, Writer - Jeffrey Lane, Music - David Yazbek, Choreography - Ellen Kane, Set Design - Anthony Ward, Lighting - Peter Mumford, Playhouse Theatre, London, 2014: Credit - Johan Persson/

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

What do Pepa, Lucia, Candela and Marisa have in common? They're women. And they're all on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Almodóvar's 1988 cult film set in Madrid is brought to the stage for the second time after a not-so-acclaimed launch on Broadway back in 2010. We haven't been to the New York show but we can assure you that this musical staged in London is as wacky, colourful and energetic as fans of the Spanish director would want it to be.

The epicentre of the story is Pepa's flat, occupied by Tamsin Greig's hurricane of a character, an actress who has just been dumped over the phone by long-time lover Ivan (read Eebaaan) who apparently also has a wife and son. Oh, and another lover as well. Pepa soon meets Lucia, Ivan's wife, as well as their son Carlos — and his future wife Marisa. Also throw into that chaos Candela, Pepa's egocentric and emotional best friend.

The story unravels as quickly as the set changes. And although this is a musical, the breakneck rhythms of the narration maintain the tension, only slowing down a couple of times. The acting is very physical, which balances well with the singing — and praise must go to David Yazbek who created both music and lyrics.

We suggest you don't watch (or re-watch) the original film before going to the show, it's better to play catch-up with a plot full of hilarious paradoxes and tragicomic situations without knowing what's coming next.

And we particularly love the strong Almodóvarian colours which furnish both the stage and character costumes. Putting Pepa in bright red really helps make her the focus of attention. It all evokes the vibrancy of Madrid which along with the rhythms in the background music — well, it's hard not to start daydreaming.

Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown is at Playhouse Theatre, Northumberland Avenue, WC2N 5DE - until 9 April. Tickets are £24.50-£59.50 and can be bought in advance online. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary press ticket.

Last Updated 13 January 2015