I am absolutely head over heels in love with this show. It’s so slick and so clever and it gets better every time I see it. This would be my first matinee at The Savoy Theatre, and the fourth show in my “Restricted West End” project. The tickets I had were for row N of the Dress Circle but, having already seen the show from this angle (read the full blog here) I decided to take the advice of a friend of mine on Twitter and try to get tickets for the front row, which also has a restricted view. Unfortunately the entire front row was already sold out (which is pretty impressive for a Thursday matinee) but there was a seat in the second row for £15 extra, so I was a little bit naughty and booked that ticket.
I didn’t realise how close to the stage the first and second rows were and let out a little squeak when Robert Lindsay came to lean on the balcony that rose up literally within touching distance of my seat – it’s a good job I wasn’t in the row in front because I may not have been able to keep my hands to myself! It had only been two months since I last saw the show but there were a few subtle little changes that improved the fluidity of certain scenes. I can’t pinpoint a favourite moment in this musical but one of them has to be the routine that Robert Lindsay performs with various hats, swapping them around and trying them on whilst singing and dancing with the ensemble – it is so technically difficult but he makes it look effortless and any little mistakes are covered up by the brilliantly adaptable ensemble members.
Lizzy Connolly who plays Jolene Oakes is absolutely fantastic. She manages to sing in a drawling Oklahoma accent whilst pulling off the tricky dance routine with ease. Every single ensemble member was absolutely flawless but Selina Hamilton and Lisa Mathieson really caught my eye – they both danced with such enthusiasm and precision and played their parts perfectly.
Katherine Kingsley was recently nominated for a West End Frame award – best performance of a song in a musical for her main solo “Here I Am” and you can see why. She is a very gifted comedy actress who can have the audience is stitches with just one movement – her character Christine Colgate is goofy and clumsy and naive and she plays her so well, but this song is where she really shines. She belts out the big notes with ease and shows off her impressive vocal range whilst introducing a character that the audience can’t help but fall in love with. Her chemistry with Robert Lindsay is absolutely electric and you can tell that they really enjoy being on the stage which is so much fun to watch.
I absolutely loved Rufus Hound the first few times I saw him, but he seems to be the only member of the cast who hasn’t really improved. He still delivers his lines perfectly and he is in his absolute element during the song “Ruprecht” but I felt that, at times, he was being out-classed by the rest of the cast. Having said that his natural comedic timing helps him through and he still had me in stitches throughout the show.
I met a lovely elderly lady called Victoria in the interval and we were discussing the show. We agreed that it was a bit “saucy” and near the knuckle at times – one particular exchange between Muriel (Samantha Bond) and Andre (John Marquez) springs to mind – but overall it is an absolutely fabulous show with beautiful choreography and delightfully cheeky lyrics performed by a cast who clearly love what they do. If you haven’t seen the show yet I urge you to see it at least once – I’ll definitely be back again soon!