For me musical theatre means a chance to sit back, relax and wait to enjoy all those well known songs and wonder at the dancing, sets and costumes.
Well, tonight it wasn’t quite like that, Leonard Berstein’s almost forgotten Wonderful Town was not full of familiar songs and the fantastic cast was not full of household names and perhaps the whole thing was better for it.
The exception to this rule of course is Connie Fisher (Winner of the BBC’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?) who was quite simply sensational, her fabulous comic timing, gawkiness and girl next door appeal had the audience eating out of her hand. She played the older of two sisters moving from Ohio to New York to seek their fortunes. The younger sister was played by Lucy Van Gasse and their harmonies together were a treat.
Set in New York’s bohemian Greenwich village in the 1930’s, , the story follows the lives and loves of the sisters from their below ground ‘apartment’ to their involvement with the Vortex club and introduces many characters based on real life people who lived in the village at that time.
Nic Greenshields played the role of Wreck Loomis and used his height to great advantage with Tiffany Graves as his girlfriend they were a must watch couple. Michael Xavier and Lucy Van Gasse were both classy and, I have it on good authority, pitch perfect throughout.
The production numbers were exceptional, the dancing and singing were from the top draw without exception. The entire cast exuded energy and gusto, it would have been difficult to pick out my favourite ensemble piece – if it hadn’t been for the amazing, hilariously funny and very enterprising rendition of My Darlin’ Eileen which was the introduction to the foot tapping, feel good second act.
Hats off to Andrew Wright the Choreographer, such innovative and polished routines delivered with precision timing and sharpness throughout – the whole cast really couldn’t have done any better.
This musical has the best of everything – great scores, clever words, and its genuinely funny. This production used all of this to its best advantage suffice to say I had a wonderful evening watching Wonderful Town at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
Wonderful Town is at the Theatre Royal Plymouth until 30th June 2012, following this it will continue on its National tour. For information about tickets to see this in Plymouth please click here or for more information on the show and the tour please click here.