book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble based on the novel by Bradford Ropes lyrics by Al Dubin music by Harry Warren.
Curve Rutland Street LE1 1SB To 21 January 2012.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Wed & Sat 2.15pm.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.
TICKETS: 0116 242 3595.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 5 January.
Feelgood show to make anyone feel better.
Where do Christmas shows go to in late winter-time? No problem here; Artistic Director Paul Kerryson’s production of this 1980 stage musical (based on a 1930s film musical) began as centrepiece of summer 2010’s Chichester Festival season. Judging by audience response, it could probably play on well towards summer 2012 in Leicester.
It’s the one where talented yet nervous dancer Peggy Sawyer gets her chance to be a star after arriving late, bumping into Broadway producer legend Julian March and injuring leading-lady Dorothy Brock – a plot-line set-up to defy credibility.
The show’s set against the (currently re-current) background of a society plunged into financial difficulty – Act One’s ‘We’re in the Money’ is sung by four street urchins picking-up coins in the street, a mood reinforced by video projections of Wall Street Crash headlines.
But at heart it’s an American dream of personal triumph against the odds; Little Hicksville peach Peggy surviving in the big apple, stepping into the shoes of the star whose leg she’s broken and letting rip with sheer talent among the sophisticated chorines who tower around her diminutive figure.
Hokum maybe, but the emptiness is hard to care about with the bright lights reflecting the sheen of ensemble glam, and sheer pzazz as number follows number, nowhere more than in ‘Lullaby of Broadway’, which Tim Flavin’s Marsh, big man of Broadway, delivers as a cultural seduction to lure Peggy back to Broadway, before everything goes up-tempo into a production number.
Kerryson judges matters exactly right, never more than in the contrast between the high expectations of an Act One finale and what actually happens. And just when the device of musical numbers being plain-clothes rehearsals for March’s new musical ‘Pretty Lady’ begins seeming restrictive, he starts to introduce elements of the show’s costume, set and lighting. Superbly performed – Daisy Maywood combining out-of-town shyness with instinctive delight in dance, Ria Jones’ Dorothy a star still strong in voice, if no longer in top-flight moves, Tim Flavin’s Marsh a commanding character and, naturally, a song and dance man all through – it’s overall a bright delight of a show.
Ethel: Jade Albertsen.
Larry: Tom Audibert.
Andy Lee: Alan Burkitt.
Gangster: Matthew Caputo.
Ann Reilly: Lisa Donmall Reeve.
Winnie: Jaye Elster.
Aristocrat: Jack Evans.
Bert Barry: Ross Finnie.
Maggie Jones: Geraldine Fitzgerald.
Julian Marsh: Tim Flavin.
Abner Dillon: Steve Fortune.
Diane: Jane Fowler.
Billy Lawlor: Francis Haugen.
Millie: Kelly Homewood.
Dorothy Brock: Ria Jones.
Gladys: Lucinda Lawrence.
Peggy Sawyer: Daisy Maywood.
Walter: Ross McLaren.
Lorraine Fleming: Ebony Molina.
Pat Denning: Stuart Ramsay.
Phylis Dale: Lisa Ritchie.
Mac: Charles Ruhrmund.
Lover: Jack Wilcox.
Director: Paul Kerryson.
Designer: Ashley Martin-Davis.
Lighting: Chris Ellis.
Sound: Matt McKenzie.
Musical Director: Andy Rumble.
Video: Arnim Friess.
Choreographer: Andrew Wright.
Costume: George Souglides.
Assistant choreographer: Lisa Donmall-Reeve.