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IN the current climate of financial problems throughout Europe many people look to a theatre trip as a way of escaping grim news of cuts and job losses.

So was this George Forrest, Robert Wright and Maury Yeston musical a good choice to stage now, since it deals with events in 1928 Berlin when guests at the elegant Grand Hotel were generally facing severe cash problems?

It is well staged with impressive acting, but the story is heavy going, and expectations have obviously changed markedly from when the 1989 Broadway production was nominated for 12 Tony awards, and collected five.

Some of the music is more pleasant than memorable, but the cast tackle the show with enthusiasm and skill, and there are many examples of Tiffany Cawthorne's bright choreography.

One of the outstanding performances comes from Charlotte Dunn, playing Flaemmchen, a typist dreaming of Hollywood success, and Mark Horne impresses as terminally ill Jewish bookmaker Otto Kringelein, destermined to finish his days in plush surroundings.

Strong contributions, too, from Andrew Smith (destitute Baron Felix Von Gaigern)and Angela Daniels (fading ballerina Elizaveta Grushinskaya).

The set, representing the foyer of the hotel with a revolving door, works perfectly, and the band, under musical director Gary Spruce, are excellent.

Directed by Alan K. Marshall, Grand Hotel stays open till June 2.

VERDICT: * * *
PAUL MARSTON - B'ham & BC Mails &

Audience reaction

LOVED it.  From the start of the music, the excellent quality of which was maintained throughout a really challenging piece from start to finish, I knew I was in for a treat.  The performances were consistently great from the whole cast and the singing from the leads and was jaw droppingly good. Every time the ensemble came on in a different guise they were different - none of that wheel 'em on wheel 'em off that I have seen in other productions - they had a purpose and they really fulfilled it. I agreed with others that the plot is a less noticeable pleasure than the show as a whole - it just zipped along and kept me sitting up and taking notice throughout.  If my face gave away what I was thinking I never dropped a delighted expression all night.
The music in this show is excellent but it is made watchable by the superb direction which does a fantastic job of pulling together what might be a rather pedestrian script in other hands.  There were a number of really great performances and the leads were really excellent with Mark Horne, Charlie Dunn and Sarah Brookes in particular making difficult parts sound easy.  The ensemble work as a whole was stunning and there were a couple of groups and people that I couldn't take my eyes off every time they were on because they were so good - the three bell boys, the bar men and Jessica Raven being three examples to pull out of a consistently great section.


I was rather apprehensive at the beginning of the show that this would be a standard production. Suddenly a man in a wheelchair appeared and was wheeled to the front of the stage illuminated by a single spotlight. He gave an incredible opening speech that was very dramatic and then the tail unfolded. The cast looked vey convincing in their period costumes, and the acting was superb. Some of the bell boys were really outstanding and can see that they have a great potential to take on lead parts in the future.
I thought that the set was beautifully designed\built and transported you back in time to the days of 'The Glitz'- well done


I thought the production was good, I enjoyed the fast songs- when the ensemble were dancing. I thought the "primadonna" actress was excellent. Some of the maids/ bell boys were much better than others and a few really stood out for me. The music was fantastic.


A massive 'well done' to all those involved in 'Grand Hotel' at the Crescent theatre this afternoon. Fantastic chorus, brilliant band an artistic vision that made the whole production 'zing' and flow effortlessly - just magic.


Tremendous Production! Congratulations to all involved. My family and I have always loved the 'Crescent' Enjoyed the skills and enthusiasm displayed by all on stage and off!


The theatre was welcoming as always, the production the best I've seen this season. A fantastic slick cast, really good characters and the show was really well received.
[I] enjoyed the energy coming from the cast, we were captivated from start to finish.


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The Crescent Theatre, Sheepcote Street, Birmingham B16 8AE. Company No: 699933, Charity No: 245054