Mar 20th, 2017
Plot be damned! 42nd Street is an exciting extravaganza, bursting with zinging one liners, bucketfuls of glitter and tremendous talent. Self referential and gloriously staged, I fully fell for this one.
The story of an attempt to stage a glitzy post depression musical in New York City, 42nd Street knows that plot is not important, not when they get a star at a helm and surround her with multitudes of leggy chorus girls. But all is not well with this production. The director is desperate to have a hit and said star is well past her sell by date. As the chances for a success seem to dwindle, it's up to uber talented youngster Peggy Sawyer to save the day. It's the classic trope seen from Showgirls to Dreamgirls, but 42nd Street was one of the first to explore it.
Sheena Easton is the name above the door but Clare Halse is a fantastic dynamo and shines brightest as newcomer Peggy against Easton's fine Dorothy Brock. Blossoming in quick-time, she soon has the entire audience and Tom Lister's handsome yet domineering Julian Marsh in her thrall. Honorable mentions must go to Stuart Neal as the 'young male lead' and Jasna Ivir and Christopher Howell as the musical's 'comic relief' writing duo Maggie and Bert. But the true star of this show are the dance numbers, deftly handled by the large-scale ensemble who grin and sparkle as the clattering of tap shoes fills the auditorium.
Roger Kirk and Douglas W. Schmidt's costume and set design work expertly together, crafting an ever changing and captivating world for the characters to inhabit. One of the most impressive set pieces, besides the 40 strong chorus line, is a vast angled mirror that gives the audience a bird's eye view of of Randy Skinner's delightful choreography that captures the spirit of the Broadway blockbusters of the past.
In a Theatreland somewhat crowded with big budget sequins and powerhouse performances this revival might not find itself quite as memorable as it hoped, but it is still a fun night out at the theatre. Regardless of the star billing, if you're looking for something with heart and pizzazz, and you've got a little time to spare, head on down to Forty-Second Street.
View our show pages for more information about 42nd Street, Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Sound good to you? Share this page on social media and let your friends know about it.
I want email news and updates for events in my area! Read how we protect your data.