Confirming our long-held belief that the best of London musical theatre happens at Southwark Playhouse, their latest production of “The Rink” is a flawless gem. The 10th venture from theatre gods Kander & Ebb, “The Rink” tells the story of Anna, an Italian-American woman with an estranged daughter, who owns a rundown roller-skating rink on the boardwalk by a changing-for-the-worse seaside. The original 1984 production starred Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli as the mother and daughter, so if you were alive to witness that you probably died from the experience. It won Chita the Tony, yet was poorly received by critics, especially sourpuss Frank Rich at the failing New York Times. (Fun fact: Director Rob Marshall was a performer in that production.) I can’t imagine how different that production had to have been from the brilliance that’s occurring at the Southwark Playhouse right now, because it may be the best musical production on a London stage right now and I know I can’t compare myself to the New York Times (I don’t support Nazis, for one), this shit’s gonna be a rave.
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