End of the Rainbow opened at Trafalgar Studios on Monday. The musical follows Hollywood legend Judy Garland (played by Tracie Bennett) towards the end of her life, as she embarks on a five-week run of shows London, which is approached in Garland’s typical shambolic-but-brilliant way.
We asked several theatre-goers what they thought of the show:
Kate, 32, Bethnal Green
Tracie Bennett doesn’t just play Judy Garland, she embodies her, perfectly capturing Garland’s every side from purring kitten to roaring lioness. She slinks and sashays around the stage, her tornado of a voice makes the walls shake, and she throws some pretty nifty dance moves, too. Captivating from hopeful start to tragic finish. I found it hard to believe so much life could be squeezed out of just 47 years.
Zoe, 30, Peckham Rye
End of the Rainbow is a must-see musical for all Judy Garland fans. It’s a pretty heartbreaking piece of theatre, but the brilliance of the songs really shines through. Tracie Bennett’s performance is nothing short of breathtaking. I’m too young to know (!) but a guy next to me in the audience who’d seen Judy perform live twice said he thought Bennett’s renditions of the songs were pretty much perfect.
Charlotte, 35, Clapham Junction
What a treat End of the Rainbow is! This stage biopic about Judy Garland illustrates how she was manipulated by all the men in her life, who played on her insecurities for their own ends. It also shows how she was trying to move on with her life in London when she tragically died. Tracie Bennett gives a superb performance as the brilliant yet deeply troubled Judy Garland and sings some of the classic songs she was famous for. Whether or not you are a fan of Judy Garland or only know her from The Wizard of Oz, I would highly recommend this play as a “must see”.
Jess, 29, Herne Hill
This is an incredible play. I was absolutely mesmerised by Tracie Bennett’s portrayal of Judy Garland. Her acting was incredible as was her singing – I really felt like I was watching Judy herself (she even looked so very like her). It was extremely touching – a real tear-jerker, as you can’t help but feel tremendous sympathy for Judy Garland. How Bennett will keep up such energy for the run I don’t know, because it is a very demanding role, both physically and emotionally. Whether you are a Judy Garland fan or not, I urge you to see this most magnificent play just to watch Bennett handle this role so wonderfully.
Madelene, 38, Finsbury Park
Sometimes you feel honoured going to see artists perform their craft and this was one of those moments. Tracie Bennett was absolutely magical.
Mark, 42, Chelsea
Tracie Bennett gives a bravura performance in this show. Having read Judy Garland’s biography and adoringly watched most (all?!) of her films, I thought Bennett’s portrayal was astoundingly accurate. Consequently End of the Rainbow was like watching a histrionic car crash – fascinating, frightening, utterly compelling and almost unwontedly enjoyable.
End of the Rainbow is on at Trafalgar Studios until 5 March. Get your End of the Rainbow tickets here.