top of page

REVIEW - 42 BALLOONS | THE LOWRY | 05/05/2024

42 Balloons Artwork

All About Theatre 5 star review

42 Balloons has been my most eagerly anticipated show of 2024, especially after attending it's press launch at The Lowry back in January and getting to see the cast perform some of the songs from the show. So, when the Lowry invited me to come and review the show, I was very excited to attend and see if the show would live up to my expectations, I need not have worried as the show exceeded my expectations and is so far my favourite show of 2024

42 Balloons production photos

The musical has book, lyrics and music by the hugely talented Jack Godfrey and is inspired by the true story of Larry Walters. Larry (Charlie McCullagh) was a truck driver from San Pedro whose dream was to fly over California in a homemade aerostat, so with the help of his girlfriend Carol Van Deusen (Evelyn Hoskins) and friend Ron ( Lejaun Sheppard) Larry came up with a plan to make his dream came true. on the 2nd July 1982 in Carol's mum's backyard Larry build an aerostat using a Lawn chair and 42 helium filled weather balloons, Larry's plan was to fly to 7000 ft over the Mojave Desert however the take-off didn't quite go to plan due to his tether rope snapping and him drifting off south towards the Pacific Ocean, he also ascended to a much greater hight than expected reaching approximately 16ooo ft. Once Larry had come back down to earth he had to face the reality off fulfilling his dream and the cost it would have on the rest of his life.

42 Balloons production photo

42 Balloons is a sung-through musical, if you know me you know that I am not usually a fan of this type of musical as I find them hard to follow however this has been so well written that I had no problem following the story and I actually really enjoyed the fact that it was sung through. The music in the musical is just fantastic and is what lifts the show up to another level, inspired by the 80's with synth pop sounds it also has a host of musical theatre influences. The musical features some fantastic upbeat catchy numbers such as the 'Prologue' and 'Lawn Chair Larry' with clever and humours lyrics but it also has some beautiful ballads such as 'Helium' and something as crazy as this which are emotional and heartfelt and performed to perfection by the incredibly talented cast.

42 Balloons production photos

Milla Clarke's set design is ingenious, made to look like the inside of a ballon it feels claustrophobic like Larry is trapped by his dream, then when Larry takes his flight, the set opens up to reveal the band a moment which feels like it represents Larry's release from his dream to fly as it has now become a reality. The plain white walls of the set are really brought to life with the help of Bruno Poet's fantastic lighting design and Andrzej Goulding's brilliant video design and animations.

The costumes designed by Natalie Pryce work well and capture the essence of the 80's.

42 Balloons production photo

The 42 Balloons cast are all exceptional, the ensemble for this show act like the storytellers and they really draw you in with their high energy performance, carrying out Alexzandra sarmiento's energetic choreography with ease. Playing the leads we have Charlie McCullagh as Larry Walters and Evelyn Hoskins as Carol Van Deusen, the pair have amazing chemistry on stage and you really believe in the love their characters have for one another, they both have amazing voices which blend well together which is particularly evident in the song 'Something As Crazy As This' McCullagh Is just fantastic as Larry and you can tell he really understands his character, bringing charm, humour and vulnerability to the roll as well as stunning vocals with are shown off wonderfully in the songs ‘Big Balloon’ and ‘Up And Away’.

Hoskins is just wonderful as Carol she brings heart and warmth to the character as well as her amazing vocal talent, her vocals on the song ‘Helium’ are just breathtakingly beautiful.

 Gillian Hardie gives an outstanding performance as Carol’s mom, her solo ‘Somebody’s Story’ brought the house down and her comic timing was impeccable. Lejaun Sheppard played Larry's friend Ron and I loved his vocals on the song '1982'.

42 Balloons production photo

At its heart this musical is all about dreams, having a dream, chasing a dream, helping someone fulfil their dreams and also the consequence of having a dream and the sacrifices people make to make dreams come true. It is a powerful story full of heart and hope, and the shows fantastic musical score will be stuck in your head for days, this show it's not like any musical I have seen before it feels fresh and exciting and I can't recommend it enough, so go and see it, this musical will blow you away.

42 Balloons will be running at the Lowry from 18th April - 19th May 2024.

You can click on the button below to purchase tickets for these performances.

If you click the button below you will find 42 Balloons official website site where you can find out more information about the show.

Photo Credit - Pamela Raith

*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


bottom of page