The comic performance of the night, and the source of most consistent pleasure, came from the very talented Tom Edden who made an acting masterclass out of the portrayal of the reluctant Vice President, Alexander Throttlebottom (is there a character in a Broadway musical with a better name?). Taking his cue from that name, Edden presented a neurotic, chaotic, frantic but ambitious, character: he stole every scene he was in and even some he was not in. Superb.
The cast, like a fine soufflé, is full of first rate choices and rises to the occasion in exactly the right way. The singing here is glorious. The Gershwins make a lot of demands upon singers and Williams ensures that every note is hit truly and that the froth and bubble in the music is given full release. The dance routines in Nice Work If You Can Get It, Stiff Upper Lip, I Can’t Be Bothered Now, French Pastry Walk and Fidgety Feet are effortlessly engaging, thrilling to watch. As you emerge from the auditorium, it is impossible not be cheery.
Christopher Wheeldon’s vision here, as director and choreographer, is remarkably detailed and endlessly lavish and ambitious. Without huge pre-built sets, Bob Crowley creates a never static vista of Parisian streets, monuments, parlours and performance venues. It all contributes to the cinematic feel of the dreamlike qualities which propel the production. Casting is faultless and this is probably the best looking, most innately stylish, cast of any Broadway show now playing. Robert Fairchild, in his Broadway debut, is revelatory as Jerry. Leanne Cope is a shimmering flower of elfin glory as Lise, and Max von Essen triumphs as Henri in a cleverly judged, gloriously sung, pitch perfect performance.