Titanic The Musical, Park Community School Theatre, Havant

20th Century Boy is at The Kings Theatre, Southsea this week. George Maguire plays Marc Bolan.

REVIEW: 20th Century Boy at The Kings Theatre, Southsea

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Since 1933, Denmead Operatic Society has been performing all manner of productions. From the serious stuff to slapstick: Gilbert & Sullivan to panto and ’Allo ’Allo. Never before, though, has it tried anything so expensive, so expansive, so ambitious.

The cast of 45 tell the story of the ill-fated launch of the Titanic, its first – and last – journey, 100 years after its sinking.

This is no Kate Winslet whimsy. This is the warts-and-all story of class distinction, and of one man’s ambition of owning the fastest, most luxurious liner the world had ever seen.

The increasingly-strained relationship between Captain EJ Smith (Will Donnelly), ship owner Joseph Ismay (Kerry Applin) and designer Thomas Andrews (Ian Clark) is the dominant factor, and all three actors rise superbly to the challenge.

For Clark, who also directs, the production is a major triumph.

The large cast provide moments of real humour and pathos in equal measure as they explore human foibles and relationships.

The world’s richest people were enjoying life in the first class cabins; those who wanted to be among the elite were below decks. But each had a story to tell.

The set is imaginative, in the confines of the small theatre at Park Community School, and adds to the stark realities faced by those who learned the hard way that they faced certain death.

A stunning night showing the polish of eight months of rehearsals.

Until Saturday.