Tuesday, November 29, 2011


at the Novello

The lights of Broadway beckon – the Shubert, the Biltmore, and of course the Zangler Follies. And here's Bobby the banker, his tap shoes at the ready, all set to hoof his way through the Gershwin back catalogue.

I didn't catch Timothy Sheader's Regent's Park revival this summer, but the show fits perfectly into the mirrored, gilded Novello [once The Waldorf]. The revolve and the ingenious scenery take us from the street to backstage to the one horse town of Deadwood, Nevada, and its Gaiety Theatre.

The "let's put the show on right here" scenario, and the songs shoe-horned into it, not to mention the jokes that would seem antique even in panto, are not what makes this show such a hit. Stephen Mear's choreography – the show-stopping I Got Rhythm, and the moment when the girls, still in their travelling attire, advance towards the footlights were just two of the memorable effects – and a strong cast of singers and dancers, keep the show lively and light-hearted.

Sean Palmer is a cool Bobby, dancing his socks off; I loved the Nice Work solo with the follow spot. I thought Clare Foster was a superb Polly – her voice just right for these numbers. And the other stand-out star for me was David Burt as the Hungarian impresario – excellent comedy timing. His vaudeville duet – What Causes That ? - with Palmer [die zwei Zangler] was priceless.

This must be one of the most enjoyable evenings of unalloyed song and dance delight in a West End not exactly starved of musicals.
At the end, the fans were literally dancing in the Dress Circle aisle ...

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