Review: Titanic The Musical, Mayflower Theatre, April 11

Review: Titanic The Musical, Mayflower Theatre, April 11

by Peter Nicholson.

When any production, be it a movie, play or musical, uses a real life tragedy as its plot line, I’m always apprehensive.

Hollywood can often be accused of trying to turn disaster into profit far too quickly, but that accusation was difficult to level at James Cameron’s 1997 epic about the sinking of the iconic White Star line’s Titanic. Likewise, it would also be difficult to say that of Titanic The Musical. However, there is no time limit on the importance of ensuring that such human tragedy is dealt with sympathetically and with sensitivity to those who lost their lives in such a horrific incident. I feel that both movie and the musical succeeded in showing the respect that is due while telling the story of this very human tragedy. 

The musical production, which opened at the Mayflower Theatre on Tuesday night, told the story which the audience expected, and it did a wonderful job of creating the feeling of familiarity to many of the characters on stage. Real people with real hopes and dreams, regardless of their “class” and station in life. The joy and awe they must have all felt at being on the world’s largest moving object on her maiden voyage came across with ease. The songs spoke of the plans that the characters had for their futures, and the cast portrayed this with enthusiasm, realism and expertise. 

The set design was simple, but it was cleverly manipulated by the cast who whisked the audience from the bridge to the first class dining room, and on to the third class accommodation. With the addition of swift costume changes we were helped to visualise the large numbers of people on the ill-fated voyage. 

The lighting was also superbly handled. Although it was simple, it was certainly effective. As with so many successes on stage, less can often be more. The audience’s imagination filled the gaps easily, and nothing distracted from the drama that was unfolding. 

The tasteful, and very moving final parts of the performance were acted and handled superbly. Respect was carefully given to the 1517 people who lost their lives on that now infamous “night to remember,” many of whom were, of course, from Southampton. 

I arrived at the show with a nagging expectation that to make a musical of such an event might not be to my taste, or worse, might be in bad taste. I was proved wrong by a respectfully written and superbly acted performance. 

Congratulations to the whole cast, orchestra and production team in showing how a difficult subject can, and should, be brought to a stage. 


Tickets for Titanic the Musical (11 – 15 April) are on sale at or 02380 711811.

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