Rebooting The Roller Disco At The Rink
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The Rink is a Kander and Ebb — best known for Chicago and Cabaret — musical that opened in New York in 1984, flopped, and arrives in London for its first revival in 30 years.
Anna (Caroline O'Connor), is selling her old roller skating rink on the boardwalk of a decaying seaside resort, when daughter Angel (Gemma Sutton) pitches up after a long absence. Through flashbacks, revelations and recriminations, the two deal with their past in the attempt to reconcile and move on with their lives. And maybe save the rink.
The Rink was nominated for best score at the 1984 Tonys and there is a reason. It's because the music is excellent, and full of heart. There are comedy and cabaret style songs, as well as emotional ballads. O'Connor and Sutton give everything on that stage, the power and control of their different voices is just perfect.
Although it's as female-led a mother-and-daughter musical as Gypsy, the male ensemble gives fine support: particularly Stewart Clarke, whose combination of excellent voice and stage presence well defines Dino, Anna's reckless husband.
The skating number set the already-enthusiastic audience on fire, thanks to Fabian Aloises's spectacular choreography.
The Rink may be the best production seen at Southwark Playhouse in the last year, and one of the best musicals at the moment in London. Grab a ticket before it skates away.
The Rink, Southwark Playhouse, Newington Causeway, SE1 6BD, £25/£20. Until 23 June
By Luca Molinari
Last Updated 30 May 2018