Subtle Sondheim has a ball!

~ News of the World, 31/03/1996 ~

STEPHEN Sondheim's new musical Passion is a killer of a show- full of super- charged emotions.

Michael Ball is on powerful form as Georgio, a young army officer who is separated from his married lover Clara and finds himself pursued by Fosca, the ugly cousin of his commanding officer.

Don't go along to the Queen's Theatre in London expecting to hear the sort of show-stopping numbers that Michael Ball has brought houses down with in Les Miserables, Phantom Of The Opera or Aspects Of Love. Passion has none of those. You'll end up believing love changes everything but Mr Sondheim achieves this in a more subtle way than Andrew Lloyd Webber.

I'm not entirely convinced that a good looking chap like Giorgio would fall for frog-eyed Fosca. But Maria Friedman gives a pretty amazing performance as the sickly temptress. She's going to be a huge star.

Cliff Richard rolled up for the first night-perhaps he was after a few passionate tips for when he plays Heathcliff. He'll be able to pick up some from Helen Hobson, who plays Clara-she'll be joining him on stage later in the year as his Cathy.

She looked and sounded superb-especially at the beginning when she romped naked with Ball.

SHEILA Hancock is absolutely brilliant in a totally foul play at the Royal Court in London. Harry And Me is a behind-the-scenes look at a fading TV chat show. It's full of really vulgar language. Mr Hancock (John Thaw) was in the audience and I'm sure the shock turned his hair even whiter.

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