Nadia Fall has misunderstood the play and, by seeking to make her mark on it, has come dangerously close to obliterating its impact. Bad casting and bad direction, however, is not enough to completely scupper Wertenbaker’s great play. In the end, the magical words she wrote come through – overcoming lightweight performances, an indulgent set, too grand a space and some interesting, but tiresomely intrusive, music.
The utterly reliable Laura Pitt-Pulford brings strength, warmth and thoughtfulness to Milly – frankly, she outdoes Jane Powell by some distance. Her Milly is completely believable, a realistic contradiction of thoughts and deeds, and a woman unafraid to be driven (and bound) by her lust – for Adam and for life. Vocally, Pitt-Pulford is a dream. Her pure, golden voice masters the music and her delivery is sensuous, wry and whole-hearted, depending on the requirements of the particular tube. Her work in “One Day”, “Goin’ Courtin'” and “Love Never Goes Away” is outstanding; she makes more of the songs than might be reasonably expected.
Director AdrianNoble strikes gold in the quartet of lovers: Gwendolyn, Jack, Cicely and Algernon. Without any question, Emily Barber and Imogen Doel are utterly exquisite, fabulously surprising, and inventively adorable as, respectively, Ms Fairfax and Ms Cardew. I have never seen better performances of those roles on any professional stage. Algernon is here played by Philip Cumbus, whose hunger and enthusiasm for Cicely matches his fervour for muffins. The gifted Michael Benz is a spiffing Jack/Earnest.
It was announced today that The 39 Steps will close on 5 September 2015 after a nine year run at the Criterion Theatre. The production which has been seen by over 3 million people worldwide will have played the 5th highest number of performances of any play in West End history. Tickets are still available for the remainder of the run. Over the past 9 years, the production has seen more than 50 actors tread its boards and between them they have got through over 3,000 pairs of stockings, 530 O/S maps of Scotland, 38 pairs of handcuffs and 16 suspender belts. With the production having performed in 39 countries including Moscow, Shanghai, Tokyo and Paris, an audience of 3 million have seen the production worldwide. Based on John Buchan’s 1914 spy thriller The Thirty Nine Steps and adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow (Desmond Oliver Dingle/The National Theatre … Read more
“You would be silly to miss seeing their wonderful, world class performances” Stephen Collins – BritishTheatre.com Following its sell-out, highly acclaimed run at the Chichester Festival Theatre, Guys and Dolls will undertake a UK tour and a limited engagement and London’s Savoy Theatre. Guys and Dolls follows Chichester’s recent transfers of classic musicals including Singin’ In The Rain, The Pajama Game and most recently Gypsy. Nathan Detroit is desperate: he needs money for an illegal dice game, and he needs it fast. Not to mention a 14-year engagement with nightclub singer Miss Adelaide (Sophie Thompson), whose patience is finally running out. Enter notorious gambler Sky Masterson (Jamie Parker), a guy who can never turn down a bet, and straight-laced missionary Sarah Brown, a doll with a heart of ice. Nathan’s wager is that Sky has to romance Sarah by taking her to Havana for dinner and in return he’ll provide … Read more