Posts Tagged ‘Rebecca Barry’

It’s clever of the Landor Theatre to programme this at Christmas and, given it’s the UK premiere, a bit of a coup. A 1944 film musical, this stage adaptation didn’t appear until 1989. The timeliness is down to the fact that Christmas is the setting of the second act, it’s the first appearance of ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ and it also features a Christmas carol and snatches of Auld Lange Syne.

It’s a fairly simple love story, set at the time of the St. Louis World Fair in 1904. The Smith family are rocked by the decision of dad Alonso to move to New York with his work; no-one else – his wife, grandpa, four daughters and a son – wants to go, particularly daughters Esther & Rose who are both in love with local boys. That’s about it, really, and that’s part of the problem with the show – it relies too much on schmaltz and sentimentality. It’s hard to fault Robert McWhir’s production, though.

It’s a good score, with a high ‘standard’ count, including the title song (reprised twice), The Boy Next Door (reprised once) and that well-known Christmas number. It’s all beautifully played by Michael Webborn’s quartet and the singing is lovely. Georgia Permutt is superb as daughter Esther, an auspicious professional debut if ever I saw one, and there’s a delightful performance as young Tootie by Rebecca Barry; a rather big part for a child actor.

It’s a little too sweet for my more savoury tastes, but it has to be seen and it’s the season for it!

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