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Mrs Doubtfire


Shaftesbury Theatre

210 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8DP 020 7379 5399

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  • Synopsis
  • Theatremonkey show opinion
  • Reader reviews
  • Performance schedule
  • Ticket prices

WHERE TO BUY TICKETS / "BUY OR AVOID" SEAT GUIDE

Euphegina Doubtfire is loved by all children. She was created by the love of father Daniel, separated from his own offspring as a way to reach into their lives.

A new comedy musical.

 

(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 8th June 2023)

Most books about writing musicals suggest that when adapting a movie for the stage, the writers go through the script and “dot” the places where a song can say more about the actor’s emotion than dialogue ever can.

The problem with “Mrs Doubtfire” is that the script (plus Robin Willams’s improvisations) is brilliant to begin with. The hilarious zingers belie the deep confusion, hurt and anger beneath each one and say as much as a showtune ever could.

Thus the Kirkpatricks and O’Farrell music, lyric and book are at a disadvantage from the start, and the truth is that the entire score does too often seem surplus to requirements.

There really isn’t a strong musical moment in the show, and the longer dance routines slow the action rather than assist it, particularly in the lengthy second act restaurant scene. 

Nothing wrong with the delivery of “He Lied To Me” by Lisa Mathieson, but it disrupted unnecessarily the flow of what should have been one crazy climactic sequence.

And that is the fundamental difficulty underlined. Left to their comedic gifts and the spoken scenes, this should be a smash hit night out.

Gabriel Vic is unmissable as Daniel Hillard, dreamer and soon to be divorced in every way from his wife and beloved children. Hillard’s range of voices dazzles, his control keeps what could slip into irritating childishness quite real, and his love for his family is genuine and moving. 

He can also throw an American Football properly – a rare skill on stage. Shame it was fumbled for an incomplete pass by the stagehand in the wings.

Wife Miranda has Laura Tebbutt bitter but without rancour, making the resolution credible as she does not become entirely detached emotionally from her former husband despite the presence of new man Stuart (Samuel Edwards nicely navigating the tricky waters). While she emotes her own big number beautifully, the song itself is just one more throwaway disappointingly failing to land over the footlights.

Eldest daughter Lydia (Carla Dixon-Hernandez) plays a much younger person with style. Her duet “Just Pretend” is well judged, and with her two siblings Christopher (Max Bispham) and Natalie (Ava Posniak) delivers “What The Hell” as a believable family moment.

Kelly Abbowu is a terrific court official Wanda Sellner, her scenes in Daniel’s flat with his brother Frank and partner Andre (Cameron Blakely and Marcus Collins in a great double-act) are uproarious, and give us a first glimpse too of how the “Mrs Doubtfire” transformation works.

In smaller roles Micha Richardson is a fun Janet Lundy, while Ian Talbot steals the show as Mr Jolly, with his theme song probably the best ensemble number.

Director Jerry Zaks keeps the pace smart once the storyline allows it. As in the film, the first 20 minutes of back story and setup are slow, bursting into life only as the title character is unveiled.

It is during this early lull that the one stunningly crass misjudgement of mood and staging occurs. An under-dressed stripper arrives at a children’s birthday party in a huge misjudgement of tone which the monkey hopes was cut in preview. It would certainly mollify mutterings of “child pornography” from members of the audience around it. It had also spoken to two young women earlier that week who had left at the interval of an earlier performance because of it.

Designer David Korins keeps the staging simple with just two large sets and plenty of space for Lorin Latarro’s rather limited choreography to take place. 

Philip S. Rosenberg manages to create an interesting lighting moment during “Clean it Up / What The Hell” in the second act. Sadly Brian Ronan’s sound design is less effective, the front centre stalls finding the cast inaudible over the orchestra on several occasions.

The comedy flows around the music rather than through it, and the musical theatre aspect never really justifies itself. When left to its original material the show is frequently hilarious and zips along with meaningful emotions delivered by a top cast.

A paradox that the show could lose every song and be the better for it, yet as it stands it is an enjoyable enough evening and a testimony to family unity, in whatever form it takes... even that of an unlikely Scottish nanny called Euphegenia Doubtfire.

Mrs Doubtfire

A good show. The cast were great. Rhys Owen was on for Daniel tonight and he was really fabulous, and Tom Scanlon for Stuart, also excellent. I thought the prosthetic was a bit rubbish though. Made him look like a muppet. Maybe less of a good fit because he's a standby? And the show is a bit chaotic. No standout songs. But worth seeing for the talented cast.

Mrs Doubtfire

The show is OK. Well, that’s where the seating problem comes into play, as some much action I couldn’t see due to the ridiculously high stage, highest I’ve ever encountered in over 30 years of theatre going.

Legacy reader reviews

Mrs. Doubtfire was pretty funny but the reason to see it is Gabriel Vick as Doubtfire. He was astonishing! So many voices! Hilarious. The songs weren’t very memorable but worth it to see him! 

Felt the darling Samuel Edwards (Anything Goes) was wasted here but nice to see his muscles!

Stalls J31. Nice rake. Could see everything clearly. Would love to sit here again!

Broadway John.
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 I didn't have any high expectations but was positively surprised. Especially the actress who played the 15-year old daughter had a lovely voice. I had to laugh when I found out that she's older than 30.

**** from my side. 
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I turned up to the theatre 40 minutes before showtime on 2nd January 2024. I could see lots of availability online at all price ranges. I asked for 2 cheapest seats in the stalls expecting to get rear stalls for about £45, but secretly hoping a wee upgrade a bit closer.

Bloke said he could sell me 2 seats in Stalls Row G for £50 each. Super-delighted as these seats were priced at £139 each.

When we took our seats the 2 seats to our left and our right were still unoccupied. Thank goodness; as there isn't much legroom, we were thankful for the extra legs once at the side to stretch our legs. Seats are verrrrry low to the ground as well, not terrific for my weary bones.

Terrific show, but word if warning.
 

The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 3.30pm
NO MONDAY PERFORMANCES.

Runs 2 hours 30 minutes approximately.

WHERE TO BUY TICKETS / "BUY OR AVOID" SEAT GUIDE

Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.

CLICK SEATING PLAN TO ENLARGE IF REQUIRED. USE "BACK" BUTTON TO RETURN.

Until 29th September 2024

Shaftesbury Theatre Prices seating plan
Sunday to Thursday
Shaftesbury Theatre Prices seating plan
Friday and Saturday

 

From 1st October 2024

Shaftesbury Theatre Prices seating plan
Tuesday to Friday
Shaftesbury Theatre Prices seating plan
Saturday and Sunday

 

DAY SEATS: £30 each, located in the stalls or dress circle. Available for Monday to Friday performances ONLY, strictly subject to availability. They reserve the right to withdraw them if the show is near to selling out. Customers can buy in person from the box office counter from NOON on the day. They are limited to TWO per person. 

RUSH TICKETS: App Todaytix are offering £30 "Rush tickets," located at venue discretion, for all performances. Released for the performance on that day, first-come, first-served. Download the App from Todaytix.

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