SHE LOVES ME
book by Joe Masterhoff lyrics by Sheldon Harnick music by Jerry Bock based on the play by Miklos Lazslo.
Landor Theatre 70 Landor Road Clapham SW9 9PH To 7 March 2015.
Tue–Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat & Sun 3pm.
Runs 2hr 40min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7737 7276.
Review: William Russell 9 February.
Pen Pals in Old Budapest hardly up-to-date.
This is one of those second rank Broadway musicals with a pleasantly unmemorable score one either finds enchanting or annoyingly twee. Miklos Lazslo’s play was also the basis for Ernst Lubitsch’s 1940 film The Shop Round the Corner , with perfume-shop assistants conducting romances with pen-pals neither has met, unaware they are the respective letter writers.
Director Robert McWhir makes a decent fist of the show, which will delight those who like this sort of mindless romantic tosh; easy on the ear, easy on the eye, easily forgotten.
The score’s best melody belongs ‘Days Gone By’, given to the shop’s proprietor – which is not as it should be – though in Act Two the heroine has ‘Ice Cream’ when she starts to fancy the hero, while he gets the title song. Both, while no show-stoppers, serve the needs of the moment.
John Sandberg, as a writer of the Dear Friend letters, improves as the evening moves-on, and Charlotte Jaconelli sings splendidly as the other correspondent.
There is nice work from Joshua LeCler as the office boy, with all the charm and engaging smiles of a young Tommy Steele, and Emily Lynne sizzles pleasantly as Ilona, the sex bomb shop-assistant cheated on by the shop lothario, although her voice projection leaves something to be desired.
David Shields’ perfume shop set is pretty, although in Act Two things get messy as its parts are shoved around to create other settings. The small band under Iain Vince-Gatt do the score full justice. The show also benefits greatly from Ian Dring’s smart double-turn as the shop’s proprietor and Maitre D’ of the restaurant in which the pen pals fail to meet, although he over-camps the latter role – one need only look at how actors like Eric Blore or Edward Everett Horton coped with such roles to see how they should be done.
Quite why the restaurant is presented as a knocking-shop is a mystery since there is no way the pen pals would ever have gone to such a place, but it did provide the ensemble with a chance to strut its stuff.
Amalia Balash: Charlotte Jaconelli.
Georg Nowack: John Sandberg.
Ilona Ritter: Emily Lynne.
Steven Kodaly: Matthew Wellman.
Arpad Laszlo: Joshua Le Clar.
Ladslav Spos: David Herzog.
Mr Maraczek/ Waiter: Ian Dring.
Ensemble: George Mulryan, Rose Ladkin, Tom Whaley, Olivia Holland Rose, Luke Kelly, Anne Horn, Suse Chaytow.
Director: Robert McWhir.
Designer: David Shields.
Lighting: Richard Lambert.
Musical Director: Iain Vince-Gatt.
Choreographer: Robbie O’Reilly.
Associate costume: Nina Morley.