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Posts Tagged ‘Kathleen Marshall’

I wasn’t planning to see another production of this Cole Porter show. Three great ones in 32 years, the last just 6 years ago, seemed like enough for now, but I have no willpower. The rave reviews and a desire to check out the acclaim for the London debut of Broadway’s Sutton Forster and the next thing you know you’re lying in bed on a Sunday morning booking for that afternoon on your iPad.

It is a great musical comedy, amongst the greatest, and this is a definitive production. You can tell it’s staged by a choreographer (Kathleen Marshall); it seems to glides and flow, and for once the Barbican Theatre feels like the most intimate of venues. The set, aboard a liner travelling from the US to the UK, and costumes are gorgeous and the band sounds terrific. This all serves the show well – the great tunes, the witty lyrics and the daft but hysterical story. Then there are the performances…..

A trio of national treasures with an average age of 70 – Felicity Kendal, Robert Lindsay & Gary Wilmott – are clearly a draw, and they all deliver. Lindsay in particular seems to be the epicentre of an infectious team spirit, perhaps the most nimble septuagenarian song & dance man, perfect for the role of lovable rogue Moonface. As always, he’s such a natural that you’re never quite sure how close he’s staying to the script. Sutton Foster redefines the triple threat – a superb dancer, a fine actor with exquisite comic timing and lovely vocals. No disrespect to Megan Mullally, but her injury appears to have provided us with an opportunity to glimpse this extraordinary talent, and she’s given a rousing welcome to these shores.

There are many other great performances, with Haydn Oakley as Evelyn, Samuel Edwards as Billy, Nicole-Lily Baisden as Hope, and especially Carly Mercedes-Dyer as Erma, who also brings the house down, but it was hard to take your eyes off the leading lady, simply mesmerising.

This is my third musical theatre treat in eight days. I don’t know how much of my euphoria is down to a 16 month famine, or the boundless enthusiasm of the performers and musicians back to doing what they love, but I’m enjoying the ride anyway. A good Sunday morning decision leading to a delightful Sunday afternoon.

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