Posts Tagged ‘Megan McGinnis’

I think the name of this show is deceptive (and unwise). It conjures up images of a kids show or something twee. Well, it is somewhat sentimental, but it’s a delightful musical two-hander based on an early 20th century novel by Jean Webster which is in essence a love story.

Rich-but-benevolent New Yorker Jervis, a trustee of an orphanage, funds their brightest young girl through university anonymously, with one of his few requests being a monthly letter by way of a report on her progress. The story is largely told through these letters, over a period of four years until just after her graduation. Orphan Jerush meets Jervis as he is the uncle of one of her college friends, but she doesn’t know he’s ‘Mr. Smith’ her benefactor. If course, they fall in love and it all ends happily.

Paul Gordon’s score is simply beautiful, superbly played by a six-pice orchestra under Caroline Humphris. It is almost, but not completely, sung through with so many gorgeous melodies and lyrics which propel the story forward, though sometimes unevenly (some time periods getting longer than others). David Farley’s wood panelled period design and John Caird’s simple staging enable to show to flow seamlessly through a lot of scenes and a years.

Though I liked both Robert Adelman Hancock as Jervis / Smith and Megan McGinnis as Jerush, it was the latter’s vocal performances which blew me away; one of the best musical theatre voices I’ve ever heard.

The cheese level is a little high, but well worth living with for what I thought was a delightful chamber musical. This was my first visit to the new St. James Theatre (such a good name) and it’s a nice intimate space – very much like Trafalgar Studio 1 (steep!) but a little smaller size.

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