This October 2014, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris opens at the Charing Cross Theatre for a strictly limited six-week run. Directed by multi-award-winning director Andrew Keates, the production features an all-star cast of Daniel Boys (Avenue Q, Spamalot, Love Story – also well-known from BBC’s Any Dream Will Do, 2007), David Burt (The Merchant of Venice, The Beggars People, Plague Over England), Eve Polycarpou (In The Heights, Mother Courage, Jacques Brel – National Theatre, 1970s) and Gina Beck (Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables).
Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is a musical revue of the greatest works by one of the most prolific, Belgian singer-songwriters of all time. This production uses the definitive English translations of Brel’s works by Mort Shurman and Eric Blau accompanied by the orchestral arrangements by Eric Svejcar from the 2006 Off-Broadway production (Zipper Theater, New York City). The 2006 production was the longest running and most successful
revival of the show, nominated for several awards including the Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle.
Often haunting, sometimes funny, heart-wrenching and vividly poetic, the songs of Jacques Brel explore the human condition through honest storytelling, with themes of joy and sorrow, love and loss, war and peace and life and death.
Charing Cross Theatre producers Steven M Levy and Sean Sweeney said that they were delighted to be presenting the much-lauded, updated 2006 Off-Broadway version. ‘We feel it will have a freshness and relevance that will allow it to resonate with modern-day audiences, much as its 1968 counterpart did with audiences of that time.’
Director Andrew Keates commented that ‘once the songs of Jacques Brel get into your head they stay there. Not only because of the poetry of his lyrics, but because of how they speak to any of us who have longed, loved and lost’.
Gina Beck. David Burt. Daniel Boys. Eve Polycarpou.
Directed by Andrew Keates.
Musical Direction by Dean Austin. Choreography by Sam Spencer Lane.
Production Design by Chris de Wilde. Lighting Design by Mike Robertson.
Sound Design by James Nicholson and Paul Gavin. PR by Chloe Nelkin Consulting.
Produced by Steven M. Levy and Sean Sweeney.
By West End Video.
All photographs by Scott Rylander.
“Good intentions do not guarantee good results. Somehow Andrew Keates turns works of merit into evenings of entertainment. Don’t call him a dramaturge, call him an alchemist.” Paul Gambaccini (Broadcaster, DJ and Author)
“An evening which reaches a triumphant conclusion in a flurry of classics…”
Clive Davis, The Times
“superb direction by Andrew Keates, fantastic songs and a really amazing cast of talented performers make this a ‘must-see’ production for any music lover. I don’t know about Paris, but Jacques Brel is currently truly alive and well, under the arches in London’s West End”
★★★★ Terry Eastham, LondonTheatre1.com
“Andrew Keates’ production creates and maintains a smoky Gallic atmosphere … This show brings the songwriter back to life.”
★★★★ Greg Jameson, Entertainment Focus
“Jacques Brel is a great night out that feels more like a cabaret than a show”
★★★★ West End Wilma
“An expertly presented show.”
★★★★ Plays to See
“It is rare to find a show as delicate as this in the sea of big, flashy productions… A revival like this is rare and special”
★★★★ The New Current
“Andrew Keates’ confident, well performed production gives us a welcome reminder of a great talent”
★★★★ The Public Reviews
“Aches with noir-ish, Parisian sensuality…you won’t want to leave Paris behind come night’s end.’
★★★★ Laura Foulger, The Upcoming
“Under the direction of Andrew Keates …Brel’s complex songs are given a fresh perspective and a new lease of life.”
Paul in London
“an enjoyable French fancy of a show.”
There Ought to be Clowns
“This is an evening of delight and pure homage.”
Elaine Pinkus, UK Theatre Network