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Based on the 1920’s Alberto Cassella play La Morte in Vacanza, Death Takes A Holiday is a chamber musical with a book by Thomas Meehan and Peter Stone, music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. After creating their Broadway blockbuster Titanic, Stone and Yeston were searching for something smaller and more intimate to work on. So they turned to the subject of Death, as a man, intrigued by the human desire to cling to life and the fact he is simply exhausted after the war and Spanish flu tragedies – he is in need of a holiday. 

Tarento and Southerland have a reputation for turning the most obsolete musicals into theatrical heaven, but even though it’s enjoyable in parts, this one couldn't be revived no matter how many holidays you give it.

After what should have been a fatal car crash, the newly engaged Grazia is flung from her vehicle into the arms of Death, but rather than perform his duties, he is smitten and decides to spare her life. Death decides to experience human existence with a brief holiday at the home of Grazia and family in Venice. He bargains with her father – who recognises who he is – to stay under the guise of a Russian prince on the agreement that as long as his secret is kept then nobody in the home will come to any harm. Over the course of his stay the global death toll halts; romance blossoms between the many house guests; and they are left bewildered why further seemingly fatal accidents just aren't, well, fatal.

As elegant and sophisticated this beautiful and intimate musical is, I failed to connect or care about any of it. The characters, the story and the question it asks about the beauty in death and love. The only beauty of this piece is its incredible score by Yeston, simple and gracious. This is not a hum-along musical; but as always prevails in Yeston’s work, Titanic, Grand Hotel, it is the wonderful sophistication. Under the effortless guidance of musical director Dean Austin, it smoothers you in melodic joy and indulgence that lifts you to the rafters on every high string and crescendo. Unfortunately though, with its whimsical characters, simple dialogue and sparse cliché plot points, there is little match to its wondrous score – leaving a disjointed feeling throughout the evening.

As usual producer Danielle Tarento and director Thom Sutherland have assembled a talented team of cast and creatives to breathe life into Death. A well devised and practical set by Morgan Large plus Mat Daw’s sensitive lighting evoke a haunting essence in perfect balance and are truly eye capturing in this production. Southerland’s direction sticks to his usual brand of chamber presentation as seen in his previous triumphs Titanic, Parade, Grand Hotel; however, as much as his presentation is clean and precise, it missed with the quirkiness of this piece. His simplicity and choral procession of furniture, scenery and ensemble didn’t invigorate or ignite.

Some generous performances lit up the stage and warmed the ears. Chris Peluso is in fine voice as Death and is graciously joined by the soprano delights of Zoe Doano as the love lorn Grazia. James Gant as man-servant Fidele is always a joy to watch and simply baring witness to the wonders of theatrical legend Gay Soper as Countess Evangelina di San Danielli is truly a delight to any musical theatre lovey.

Tarento and Southerland have a reputation for turning the most obsolete musicals into theatrical heaven, but even though it’s enjoyable in parts, this one couldn't be revived no matter how many holidays you give it.


3rd Dec 20163:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
3rd Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
5th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
6th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
7th Dec 20162:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
7th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
8th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
9th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
10th Dec 20163:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
10th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
12th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
13th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
14th Dec 20162:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
14th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
15th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
16th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
17th Dec 20163:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
17th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
19th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
20th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
21st Dec 20162:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
21st Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
22nd Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
23rd Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
24th Dec 20163:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
24th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
26th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
27th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
28th Dec 20162:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
28th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
29th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
30th Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
31st Dec 20163:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
31st Dec 20167:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
2nd Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
3rd Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
4th Jan 20172:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
4th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
5th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
6th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
7th Jan 20173:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
7th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
9th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
10th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
11th Jan 20172:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
11th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
12th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
13th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
14th Jan 20173:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
14th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
16th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
17th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
18th Jan 20172:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
18th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
19th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
20th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
21st Jan 20173:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
21st Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
23rd Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
24th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
25th Jan 20172:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
25th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
26th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
27th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
28th Jan 20173:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
28th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
30th Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
31st Jan 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
1st Feb 20172:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
1st Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
2nd Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
3rd Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
4th Feb 20173:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
4th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
6th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
7th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
8th Feb 20172:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
8th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
9th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
10th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
11th Feb 20173:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
11th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
13th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
14th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
15th Feb 20172:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
15th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
16th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
17th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
18th Feb 20173:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
18th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
20th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
21st Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
22nd Feb 20172:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
22nd Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
23rd Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
24th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
25th Feb 20173:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
25th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
27th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
28th Feb 20172:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
28th Feb 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
1st Mar 20172:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
1st Mar 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
2nd Mar 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
3rd Mar 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
4th Mar 20173:00pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London
4th Mar 20177:30pmCharing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Viller Street, London

The Blurb

In Northern Italy, shortly after World War One, Death disguises himself as a handsome young prince to try to understand why life is so precious and death so feared. But when he unexpectedly falls in love with a newly engaged young woman, this mysterious stranger discovers that love may in fact be stronger than death.

With an inspiring book by multi Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan and Peter Stone, based on the 1928 Italian play of the same name which went on to inspire the movie, Meet Joe Black, starring Brad Pitt as Death, and a lush, romantic score by multi Tony Award winner Maury Yeston (Titanic, Nine), this is a soaring story of the preciousness of life and the overwhelming power of love.

Call Sheet

Producer
Danielle Tarento
Steven M. Levy
Sean Sweeney
Production Company
Tarento Productions Ltd
Charing Cross Theatre
Director
Thom Southerland

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