You want the good news or bad news first?
The classic story of a chorus girl who goes on to become a star when the leading lady breaks her ankle tale is the stuff of musical legend. No complaints there.
Lots and LOTS and LOTS of tap dancing from the off and a hugely satisfying pair of big numbers at the end with a large cast of hoofers banging away like crazy.
The costumes. Lots of them.
The book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble is a laugh-free zone that makes Top Hat‘s book look like a collaboration between Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde. Was it really that bad when Phil saw the show back in the 80s?
The ‘gags’ (if one can flatter them thusly) are delivered with such over-emphasis they barely produce a titter from the audience. The Whingers couldn’t even raise the enthusiasm to groan.
…and the Ugly
The sets. Oh dear, even by touring standards these must be pretty poor. What Phil remembers from the original Broadway and West End productions was the spectacle. Here, as so much has been spent on a large cast economics have presumably reduced them to a series of drops. One didn’t make sense at all, some sort of geometric floral motif vaguely reminiscent of the terrible London 2012 logo.
Dorothy Brock’s dressing room was very battered around the edges but perhaps this was a metaphor. And while we’re on the subject, there was a working door into it so why do some of the cast enter and exit her room from the sides? Rather ill-mannered of them in our view.
Act 2 sees a slight improvement with a big light-up staircase and a 3Dish version of a Philadelphia station.
The terribly flat lighting.
The audience. Yup, chatting again throughout the overtures, repeating what passed for jokes at full volume and the woman behind us who appeared to be practising ballon sculpting with her plastic bag.
We must end on some good news. This was the first time we’d been in the New Wimbledon‘s revamped circle bar now known as the Piano Bar. It’s been given a spanking make-over with such a lovely wooden floor Andrew and Phil were tempted to put on their tap shoes and try it out. More good news; they resisted.