Review – Dames at Sea, Union Theatre

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Andrew says sometimes there’s just no point talking to Phil.

Phil says sometimes there’s just no point talking to Andrew.

Q: So how was Dames At Sea?
P: Very pleasing. It’s an amusing parody of the 1930s musical comedy genre. Plenty of laugh out loud moments. How could you not like a show with Dames in the title, an Act 2 set “On the Poop Deck of a Navy Battleship” and one that sets out its tone and whole storyline in a trice with the declaration, “My name is Ruby. I’m a dancer. I’ve just got off the bus and I wanna be in a Broadway show”?
A: So, so. It’s a pointless parody of the 1920s musical comedy genre. Why not put on a genuine 1920s musical comedy? DAS isn’t arch enough or sufficiently insightul to justify the effort of writing it.

Q: What were the songs like?
P: Hummable, smart pastiches of the period. “It’s You” neatly rhymes a slew of old movie stars’ names.
A: That’s all very well for Phil. Spanky McFarland anyone? “It’s You” was charming and, indeed, very hummable.

Q: Costumes?
P: Very good. And wigs by Richard Mawbey!
A: Very good. And wigs by Richard Mawbey!

Q: The set?
P: How shrewdly economical and green of them to rummage through the Menier’s bins at night, recycling Roadshow‘s dollar bills by fashioning them into a curtain.
A: Nothing wrong with the set.

Q: The cast?
P: Mostly alarmingly young people giving it everything they had got then some. Gemma Sutton’s Ruby channelled (Ruby) Keeler delightfully. Newcomer Daniel Bartlett sang and hoofed well as her love interest Dick. Talented Catriana Sandison (winner of the Judi Dench scholarship!) is a confident and leggy Joan. Ian Mowat’s Captain Courageous is a great foil to Mona Kent’s temperamental diva. Will any musical ever feel entirely complete again without the inclusion of a Strallen (Sasi)? Terrific support from a gaggle of hot-panted chorines and sailors in Daz-white uniforms; no stains on these seamen.
A: They were all fine and Daniel Bartlett’s Dick was particularly enchanting.

Q: Rosemary Ashe‘s Mona Kent?
P: Enjoyably camp, blowsy and as over-the-top as her makeup which looked like it was paintballed onto her face.
A: I was looking forward to seeing her Mamma Rose in the Landor’s cancelled production of Gypsy but I think I just saw it.

Q: The direction?
P: Kirk Jameson rips through the piece in a zippy 2 hours including a 20 minute interval with plenty of knowing nods to the genial silliness of the piece.
A: A bit on the broad side given the size of the auditorium. And why was everyone shouting? None of the audience was more than six  feet away

Q: Drew McOnie‘s choreography?
P: What’s not to like when a show opens with a tap number? Perky, varied and clever. Some of the best seen at the Union.
A: Yes very tappy. Lovley.

Q: The Union’s toilets?
A: Even Esther William’s armpits wouldn’t smell this strongly of chlorine.
P: The hand towel could use a boil.

Q: Overall take on the afternoon?
P: I’m putting Andrew’s grumpiness down to the fact that he normally doesn’t do matinees in summer.
A: Phil would have been happy to be distracted by anything rather than the flagrant display of shapely calves from myself and Michael Coveney as we both turned up in a pair of shorts. For the record:  that’s a pair each.

Phil’s rating

Andrew’s rating

2 Responses to “Review – Dames at Sea, Union Theatre”

  1. garethjames Says:

    The thought of Andrew and Coveney sharing a pair of thoughts will haunt me forever…..

  2. garethjames Says:

    That should have been shorts! Mind you, they have been agreeing a bit of late…….


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