Flowers For Mrs Harris

"Flowers for Mrs. Harris" is a theatrical gem that warms the heart 

In the musical world filled with glitz and glamour, "Flowers for Mrs. Harris" stands as a truly heartwarming show that delves into the essence of a lady and a cherished Dior dress. Just like the gorgeous red dress that takes centre stage, this production has many layers, inviting the audience to explore themes of dealing with grief, working for your dreams, or adding a little sparkle to your life.

The lead of this journey is the remarkable Jenna Russell, who takes on the role of Ada Harris with an unparalleled depth of emotion. Through her impeccable performance, Russell navigates the intricate thread of new and old relationships, immersing the audience in a tale of connection and transformation. The chemistry between Russell and Annie Wensak, portraying Violet Butterfield, is nothing short of iconic. Their relationship, complete with its ups and downs, is presented with honesty and humour, creating moments that are both touching and comical.

While Jenna Russell takes the lead, the rest of the cast dazzles with their multirole performances. Each actor, despite playing multiple characters, masterfully embodies the distinctions between them. Bronagh Lagan, as the Director, cleverly plays up the physical resemblance among certain characters, emphasising the transformative power of their acting. Notably, Charlotte Kennedy and Nathanael Campbell's portrayal of two roles each is a testament to their versatility. They not only showcase how their characters behave in the outside world but also unveil their innermost feelings with meticulous attention to detail.

"Flowers for Mrs. Harris" cleverly weaves in beautiful moments of humour when referencing the performers' other roles, adding an extra layer of depth to the production. Additionally, the inclusion of dialogue in French during the second half of the show enriches the experience, even for those who may not understand the language. The performers' expressions and intent make the meaning clear, and the occasional swear word (in French) adds a touch of authenticity.

Set against a backdrop that appears deceptively simple yet exudes rustic charm, the stage hides delightful surprises within its folds. From vanity mirrors to airport departure gates and even a radio pundit's surprising appearances, the set serves as a versatile canvas for the unfolding narrative. The transformation of the stage into the famous atelier is a visual treat that adds to the production's allure Nik Corrall the Set Designer did a wonderful job.

While "Flowers for Mrs. Harris" may not offer the high-energy, high-kicking spectacle of some other musicals, it stands as a testament to exceptional talent that takes its time to tell a heart-warming story. In a world that often rushes past the simple joys of life, this show reminds us to cherish the moments, our dreams, and appreciate the impact we can have on those around us. "Flowers for Mrs. Harris" is a theatrical gem that warms the heart and leaves a lasting impression long after the final curtain falls.

This show was reviewed on the 5th October 2023.  Flowers For Mrs Harris runs at the Riverside Studios, London until the 25th November 2023.  Tickets available here: Flowers For Mrs Harris | Riverside Studios

Review written by Valentine Gale-Sides


Photo credit: Pamela Raith

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