Review Pretty Woman Sunderland

Review: Pretty Woman the Musical at Sunderland Empire

Taking us back to the late ’80s is the iconic musical production of Pretty Woman, on at Sunderland Empire until 8 June

Caroline Dask

Journalist at Luxe


With the risk of sounding cheesy, the opening night of Pretty Woman the Musical at Sunderland Empire was big. HUGE!

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, Tuesday is a slow day at Luxe HQ. Perhaps it’s the aftermath of the big Bank Holiday Weekend, or maybe it’s the unforgiving weather outside, reminding us that summer exists only in our minds, unfortunately. As I slowly find myself adapting to British culture by talking about the weather, there is one thing I am certain will lift our spirits.

While we all know and love the film, a sprinkle of music to the storyline of Pretty Woman adds an extra glimmer of excitement and, certainly, a ray of sunshine to this rainy day.

Review Pretty Woman Sunderland

What is ‘Pretty Woman the Musical’ About?

Pretty Woman is the ultimate Hollywood rom-com. There are so many aspects of the storyline that make this show a hit. From the unconventional love story to the luxurious setting of Beverly Hills, the show is the perfect balance of grit and glamour.

It follows the confident and powerful female lead Vivian, who will not let anyone step on her soul, and the wealthy, yet not entirely snobby male lead – Edward. Once these two meet, Edward’s interest is sparked. He sweeps Vivian off her feet with luxuries that have become quite the norm to him but a pure fascination to Vivian.

The story successfully shows the initial allure of luxurious life to an everyday individual without compromising on highlighting what matters most in life, which is human connection, friendship, love and staying true to who you are.

Review ‘Pretty Woman’ at Sunderland Empire: The Highlights

It’s a cheesy love story and as a romantic at heart, I thoroughly enjoyed the production. It’s a feel-good musical that leaves you grinning from ear to ear almost the entire time.

Everything from the smallest of details, such as the cast’s American accent and the fluffy white hotel dressing gowns, screaming upper-class affluence, make ‘Pretty Woman the Musical’ sparkle.

Watching the production you simply can’t help but relive it from Vivian’s point of view. Every gasp, every moment of excitement and frustration, everything feels so very real and authentic on stage, which speaks volumes for the talented cast of Amber Davies, playing Vivian Ward, Oliver Savile, playing Edward Lewis and the wonderful Ore Oduba, playing Happy Man / Mr Thompson.

Review Pretty Woman Sunderland

Review ‘Pretty Woman’ at Sunderland Empire: The Cast

While each and every one cast member of the musical is talented and unique, there are four stars of the show that shine the brightest.

Amber Davies is the perfect Vivian. Confident, outspoken, incredibly charming and witty, she delivers a fabulous version of the female lead in the musical. With undertones of female empowerment, the role, while adapted from the ’90s film is still very much relevant for the 2024 audience, and Amber showcases that with so much authenticity and passion.

Oliver Savile, on the other hand, is an endearing version of Edward. Oliver successfully balances the authoritativeness of his role mixed with a softer, and more heartwarming side of Edward, showcasing his vulnerability and emotions through musical performances.

Review Pretty Woman Sunderland

Ore Oduba is the perfect narrator of the musical. His charms and positive energy carry the musical to all-time highs, adding moments of laughter and engagement, especially with a few subtle reminders of his success on Strictly Come Dancing, that leave the audience belly-laughing.

Natalie Paris, playing Kit De Luca, blows the audience away with her incredible vocals, so very deserving of a standing ovation. Her character, while a supporting one, is extremely important to the show, as Natalie portrays the definition of the perfect friend.

Review ‘Pretty Woman’ at Sunderland Empire: The Music

Act One has several memorable musical performances, but the standout ones for me are ‘Welcome to Hollywood’ by Happy Man, Kit & Ensemble, ‘Rodeo Drive’ by Kit & Ensemble and ‘Freedom’ by Edward.

While ‘Welcome to Hollywood’ is the perfect opener, setting the tone for a great musical night with plenty of energy and Hollywood glamour, ‘Freedom’ by Edward is an emotional number, giving a glimpse into what’s behind the authoritative exterior of Edward.

Act Two does not disappoint, with ‘I Can’t Go Back’ by Vivian stealing the second half of the show. Here, Vivian’s time with Edward is almost up and she’s finding it hard to go back to her old life, suddenly realising it’s never too late to chase your dreams.

Who Should See The Show?

Romantics at heart, assemble! This one is right up your street. Cheesy at times, heartwarming and feel-good, ‘Pretty Woman the Musical’ is a warm production for everyone who can’t think of anything more romantic than being swept off of their feet by their knight in shining armour.

A night at Sunderland Empire, watching this lovey-dovey musical production of Pretty Woman is a night of smiles, passion and dreamy escapism.

Pretty Woman the Musical is on at Sunderland Empire until 8 June. Grab your tickets here.