Review: Ria stunning on Sheffield stage as forgotten Hollywood queen

Danny Mac (Joe), Ria Jones (Norma) and Adam Pierce (Max) in Sunset Boulevard
Danny Mac (Joe), Ria Jones (Norma) and Adam Pierce (Max) in Sunset Boulevard
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Her stunning performance as a forgotten Hollywood screen legend won Ria Jones standing ovations in Sunset Boulevard in the West End and it was deservedly the same at the Lyceum.

She completely commanded the role of Norma Desmond and absolutely owned Andrew Lloyd Webber’s songs.

The story, based on Billy Wilder’s movie, tells of the doomed love affair between Norma and young writer Joe Gillis, who she persuades to move into her home to rewrite the script she imagines will bring about her return to screen stardom.

Strictly and Hollyoaks star Danny Mac was a revelation as Joe, who has more time on stage than Ria and has to carry the action. His strong voice and presence showed his musical theatre background and the two stars had convincing chemistry.

Adam Pierce, as Norma’s fiercely faithful butler Max, had a stunning voice and great characterisation too.

Molly Lynch was very engaging as the smart, sassy young writer who turns Joe’s head away from Norma, with tragic consequences.

It was great to finally see this wonderful show, with its sumptuous staging, but scene-setting chorus numbers went on for too long, as did the rather overblown ending.

Sunset Boulevard ends its run at the Sheffield Lyceum on Saturday, April 28.