Passion @ Theatre Cafe Review

Dean John-WilsonKelly Price and Ray Shell join Henshall for new Sondheim Production. Ruthie Henshall will lead a recently announced cast of West End regulars in a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion this May.

The show will open at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, marking the 25thanniversary of Sondheim’s tale of love and adultery. Passion, which won a Tony on its first outing on Broadway, has been described as Sondheim’s ‘most lyrical and romantic work’,  as well as one of his most experimental.

Henshall, the Olivier-award-winning veteran of ChicagoLes MisérablesCats and Oliver, was announced in the leading role last October. She’s joined by Kelly Price (CompanyLittle Shop of Horrors) in the role of Clara. The star of Aladdin’s original West End production, Dean John-Wilson, will complete the leading trio as Giorgio.

The production marks a reunion for Henshall, director Michael Strassen and Ray Shell (to play Doctor Tampouri) – all of whom worked together on the original West End production of Miss Saigon in 1989.

These ‘original stage gangsters,’ as Shell described them, performed extracts from Passion at The Theatre Café this week, accompanied by Musical Director Yshani Perinpanayagam.

A pinched, more colourful theatre-equivalent of the Hard Rock Café is not an easy venue to capture and Price struggles with tuning in a performance which gives a glimpse of a more intoxicating, sultry timbre to come after rehearsal.

John-Wilson, likewise, gives an emotionally consuming rendition of Giorgio’s climactic lament: ‘No One Has Ever Loved Me’, but such a small space might have reward more control in the upper register, where John-Wilson sounds frayed at the edges.

Henshall, who is also producing, clearly impressed with dynamic control and understated characterisation. Fosca, a character Sondheim described as ‘manipulative and relentless, not to mention physically repellent,’ will demand all that and more of Henshaw when Passionopens in three months.

Written by Daniel Shailer.

To find read more on the Passion launch event, visit here…

Passion will play from Thursday 5th May until Sunday 5th June 2022. To find out more about the production, visit here…


Written by Theatrefullstop