Could it all be a big mistake? No – Pretty Woman: The Musical, playing in Manchester this week, was an absolute joy and a glorious trip down memory lane 

When you love a movie that stands as a beacon of your youth, there's bound to be a slight frisson of fear that taking it to the stage will spoil it. How could it possibly match up to the perfection of the original? Thankfully, it was no huge mistake.

Great British Life: Everything just as you hope for. Pretty Woman: The Musical, is a joyEverything just as you hope for. Pretty Woman: The Musical, is a joy (Image: Marc Brenner)

With an incredible record-breaking run on Broadway, and music and lyrics by the one and only Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, we were hoping the award-winning US smash hit musical would sweep us off our feet. And it did. In the words of the Pretty Woman herself, Vivian Ward: “In case I forget to tell you later, I had a really good time tonight.” 

Manchester’s opening night at The Palace Theatre was a fitting venue for this much-loved story of rags to riches, financial and romantic. A cleverly designed set brought the glamour of Hollywood and the iconic Beverley Wiltshire hotel to a cold February evening in Manchester, and the attention to detail was wonderful, with intricate décor, glamorous interiors and the luxury of South Rodeo Drive. 

Great British Life: Natalie Paris as Kit De Luca, and Noah Harrison as GiulioNatalie Paris as Kit De Luca, and Noah Harrison as Giulio (Image: Marc Brenner)

The casting was sublime. Playing the lead, we were treated with the presence of Manchester-born Paige Fenlon, and we were not disappointed. She brought stature, humour and a fantastic voice to the role. Her sidekick, Kit, was admirably played by Natalie Paris, whose voice was impeccable and sublime through the evening. Vivian’s love interest, billionaire businessman Edward, was played with understated swagger and panache by Ben Darcy. 

The production was fast-paced, slick and on point, and the beautifully written and arranged musical numbers were delivered with perfection every time. Of particular note was the opening Welcome to Hollywood, delivered by a mesmerising Ore Obuba, as Happy Man. Ore fused together the entire show with his smooth vocals, impressive dancing (as one would expect from a winner of Strictly Come Dancing) and his multiple roles, including the wry Mr Thompson, manager of the Beverley Wiltshire. He was fantastic. 

Great British Life: Ore Oduba was superb as Happy Man.Ore Oduba was superb as Happy Man. (Image: Marc Brenner)

The assembled cast worked their socks off and displayed the talents of the costume design department, in an array of beautiful outfits that more than matched the colourful Hollywood backdrop. 

I can’t think of a better way to spend a winter evening than in the company of such a talented bunch of professionals, who all delivered a polished performance with heart. 

As expected, the audience rose with the cast for a fun-filled finale that included a perfectly delivered version of Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman

Our last words on Pretty Woman: The Musical? As Vivian eloquently put it “It was so good, I almost peed my pants.” 

Pretty Woman plays at The Palace Theatre until Saturday March 16,