Sunset Boulevard Review Round-Up

We went to see the English National Opera’s breath-taking production of Sunset Boulevard at the London Coliseum this week and were spellbound. The whole auditorium were on their feet in a glorious standing ovation, critics included and the reviews reflected this. Here are some of our favourite reviews so you can read what they had to say about this fantastic show. If you need another excuse to see the show, we have great seats from just £30.

6. Glenn Close (Norma Desmond) photo by Richard Hubert Smith

Here's what See Theatre's Paul Watt thought of the play:

“Glenn Close is phenomenal, that is the only way I could start talking about Sunset Boulevard. I’m so glad that she brought her version of Norma Desmond to the West End because it is such a powerhouse performance. Watching this enchanting character descend further into her delusion was haunting, but brilliant. The decision to have it semi-staged I think was genius, it meant that the transitions were slick and didn’t draw away from the exceptional performances from the cast. The cherry on top was the accompaniment from the English National Opera’s Orchestra, playing the beautiful score. I think this is one of the best musicals I’ve seen on the West End.”

11. l-r Michael Xavier (Joe Gillis), Siobhan Dillon (Betty Shaefer) photo by Richard Hubert Smith

BritishTheatre.Com ✭✭✭✭✭
Glenn Close is mesmerising as Norma Desmond, she has Norma teetering between Machiavellian manipulation and madness. It’s a balancing act that makes this version of Sunset Boulevard compelling.” – Douglas Mayo

The Guardian ✭✭✭✭
It is also a pleasure to hear the Lloyd Webber score […] played by the 48-strong onstage orchestra under the baton of Michael Reed: it’s the most sumptuous sound I’ve heard in a musical since the Hallé orchestra accompanied Bernstein’s Wonderful Town.” – Micheal Billington

10. l-r Glenn Close (Norma Desmond), Julian Forsyth (Cecil B DeMille, photo by Richard Hubert Smith

The Daily Mail ✭✭✭✭
The semi-staged production means it is not a full set. Instead we get a tuxedoed orchestra with bits of furniture whisked on and off as required, and splashes of frisky choreography and rock stadium lighting. But the gothic melodrama of Lloyd Webber’s music is all the scenery that’s needed, laying on oodles of romantic violin and plenty of festive Cuban brass.” – Patrick Marmion

What’s On Stage ✭✭✭✭
Close gives a performance that shades and shimmers like one of sequined gowns: grandly majestic, her mouth set in a ferocious resolute little line, then giddy with girlish, gleeful, grotesque excitement. But when the fear takes hold, she's suddenly needy and manipulative” – Holly Williams

8. The Sunset Boulevard Company, photo Richard Hubert Smith

The Stage ✭✭✭✭
Handsome, evocatively staged revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's underrated musical, with an authentic star at its core. […] Director Lonny Price's production, on simple series of interconnecting metal stairways, gives it momentum and drama.” – Mark Shenton

The Mirror
We may know her as an acclaimed actress, but Glenn’s singing is just as stunning. She masterfully belts out the show’s biggest numbers, and earned rapturous applause as a result. […] It delivers some memorable anthems, including With One Look and As if we Never said Goodbye” – Rod Mcphee


The Spectator
"Michael Xavier (Joe) is a handsome slab of tanned beefcake with an attractive voice, nicely trained. The show-stealer is Fred Johanson as the melancholy film director Max, who sacrifices everything for Norma. The booming sonority of Johanson’s spoken words might have sounded pretentious in an earthier script but his cavernous enunciations seem to suit the pumped-up grandeur of the material." - Lloyd Evans

2. l-r Glenn Close (Norma Desmond), Michael Xavier (Joe Gillis), photo by Richard Hubert Smith

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