Based on the film, this ingeniously written musical is peppered with good tunes and, with some lively flowing choreography by Ema Carpenter, transports the audience to the South of France. Paul Warne’s solid direction is slightly impeded by a very static set of stairs and a balcony which occasionally causes some confusion as to where the action is taking place. That said, the show is full of scene changes which, barring a troublesome cloth on the opening night, are well executed.
First-night nerves may have slowed the pace and energy a little, which will no doubt improve as this able cast progress through the week. Daniel Roy and Christopher Ball as the two leads bounce off each other both physically and vocally as each tries to gain and retain the upper hand. Aimee Wright floats into this scenario and stylishly upsets the bromance with charm and ease, warmly putting the two boys off their stroke. The act 2 opening scene with just the three of them is particularly well thought out and performed. Carrie Bellett fire-storms her character onto the stage with her Oklahoma! pastiche number, also enjoying her scenes with the artful pair.
Added to this is a sub plot with a poignant, graceful yet humourful performance by Glenda Thomas as Muriel alongside Joseph Hand as a gentlemanly Andre. Their scenes together in the second half portraying mature ‘love’ are beautifully done, the line about the suitcases being so expertly delivered. A full chorus of ever costume-changing, hard-working girls and boys added much visually but not distractingly so, balancing the story with well-danced movement and verve.
A complex score is note-perfect, the excellent orchestra under the baton of John Sparrow fully allowing the witty lyrics and dialogue to be heard. The programme is well thought out and presented too, echoing the art deco style of the show, which is a nice touch.
Scene One - David Putley
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