A BOWL OF CHERRIES
book by Carolyn Pertwee music and lyrics by David Martin additional lyrics by Chris Walker additional material by Andrew C Wadsworth.
Charing Cross Theatre The Arches Villiers Street WC2N 6NL To 31 March 2012.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 3pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 0207 907 7075.
Review: William Russell 12 March.
Life is too short for shows like this.
Revue as a theatrical art form died decades ago, and this sad little show directed by Andrew C Wadsworth does not give it the kiss of life. Life may well be a bowl of cherries for some, but this is a bucket of codswollop.
For reasons one cannot fathom we are in a theatre during the blitz. The leading lady, a Jessie Matthews look-alike (Claire Buckfield), and the stagehand who loves her (Graham Macduff) are killed and their ghosts doomed to haunt the place. This results in their having to watch the performance of A Bowl of Cherries, which consists of a series of dire sketches about marital relations written by Carolyn Pertwee – all of which should have stayed in her wastepaper basket – interspersed by even worse songs by David Martin.
Purgatory to put it politely for the poor things. It seems Martin has notched over 30 million world wide sales in a long career as singer/songwriter, but then both the Hoff and Engelbert have done pretty well and nobody thinks they are any good.
One’s heart goes out to a splendidly talented cast confronted with awful material. Led by the excellent Gary Wilmot and Julie Jupp they give it their all. They sing, they dance, they act and they smile when by rights their hearts should be breaking, and probably are. The framing device is pointless, the sketches plod relentlessly to no punch-line, and the final number, when everyone comes on as a geriatric and then whips the dressing-gowns off to do a top-hat and tails routine, is mind bogglingly silly. The ship is sinking, they play on.
Cast: Clare Buckfield, Kate Graham, Eaton James, Julie Jupp, Sohm Kapila, Graham MacDuff, Peter Manuel, Gary Wilmot.
Director: Andrew C Wadsworth.
Designer: Ruth Hall.
Lighting: David Mitchell.
Sound: Tom Hackley.
Musical Director: Tom Kelly.
Choreographer: Alistair David.