(seen at the afternoon performance on 30th November 2019). Ahead of
panto season, the monkey slots in its first visit to a show seen several times
in various versions in London around this time of year. No idea why the show
always appears this time of year, but the monkey notes it anyway.
It's pretty much the movie script, with added songs. Michael Taylor produces
a decent flexible "barn" themed set, Mark Henderson as always lights with
imagination and Diego Pitarch has a witty way with costumes while keeping it
"period" as required.
The show delivers an acapella "White Christmas" from Bob (Danny Mac), Phil
(Dan Burton) and the gang right at the top of the show - proving the duo can
sing. They meet their match with sisters Betty (Danielle Hope) and Judy (Clare
Halse) Haynes. The pair's "Sisters" is strong (though the guys are funnier later
on). Hope - who could afford to relax a little more (she's fine, doesn't need to
try, it's there if she lets it) - perhaps edges the vocal, Halse is notably the
stronger actor and of course dancer.
General Waverly (Michael Brandon) is nicely military, but concierge Martha
(Brenda Edwards) stops and steals the show with "Let Me Sing And I'm Happy),
getting away with it until Waverly's niece Susan (Sasha Walters at this
performance) upstages her with her own version.
Notes too for Jack Wilcox as TV producer Sheldrake, with a nice pivotal
scene, and Sion Tudor Owen as a fun Ezekiel. The male chorus get the best of the
choreography and energy, but both they and the ladies are accurate -
particularly in the bigger ensemble numbers.
Probably suiting most the older generation who don't fancy panto this year,
this is a satisfying and well delivered production. A lull in the act two
plotting aside, it chugs along nicely, and given the nature of the season, the
monkey is giving it the extra half banana to make it up to the four star