Friday, 12 December 2014

Lace Market Theatre
If you need any excuse to get you into a Christmassy mood then the Lace Market Theatre's production of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" will do just that.
The original 1954 film starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen,and was loosely based on the 1942 film Holiday Inn, about two soldiers, Bob Wallace and Phil Davies, who after leaving the army go on to have a career in showbusiness. They meet The Haynes Sisters en route to The Columbia Inn for their Winter Show and decide to tag along. When they get there they discover that the owner of the Inn is no other than their old army General, who is a better General than he is an Inn keeper, so decide to help raise some badly needed funds for the Inn,
To start with I thought the lack of scenery may detract from the show but you soon forget that and get carried along like a snowdrift with the magic of the show and the cast.
Paul Johnson plays the Bing Crosby role of Bob Wallace, decidedly Grinch like to start with but the ice melts when he meets, and gets to know Betty Haynes (Jackie Dunn). Paul's vocals start tentatively but soon warmed up and while there is no other Bing, Paul's voice is very pleasant to listen to. Jackie owns a gorgeous set of vocal chords with a style so reminiscent of the period the film is set in, just listen to her sing "Love You Didn't Do Right By Me".
Chris Moseley is an ideal casting as the Danny Kaye character, Phil Davies, the one with the roving eye for any lovely lady who crosses his path, and for me had the stronger voice of the Davis and Wallace partnership.
Keeping Davies in check is the other Haynes sister, Judy, played by Lucy Bailey, matching Jackie's voice beautifully in songs like "Sisters".
Some lovely supporting roles from Gareth Morris as Ralph Sheldrake, who almost managed to wreck a lovely relationship between Betty Haynes and Bob Wallace, but came good in the end. Daniel Bryant was great at keeping up the old army etiquettes as General Henry Waverley who also occasionally showed his softer side.Elizabeth Rieley as the spotlight hungry Granddaughter of the General brought a smile to our faces with her attempts to shine as a performer, and Elizabeth has a lovely voice too.
My "star" of this show though, and it is a tight battle for that title has to be Alison Hope as the General's right hand woman who practically ran The Columbia Inn, Martha Watson. What a beacon of talent, so natural for this part and what a great voice she has also, Fiesty, not afraid to stand up to the general and such a wonderful character that everyone warmed to her.
You will be surprised how many songs you know from this musical. "Blue Skies", "Sisters". "Let Yourself Go", "Let Me Sing A Happy Song","How Deep Is The Ocean" and of course the title track.
Lisa Lee, the choreographer, did a brilliant job with the dance routines and especially the tap numbers. The costumes for everyone were the epitome of class, style and sophistication from the 1950's, all adding to the classiness of the production.
A large cast, twenty two on stage, which featured several well known faces from the various Nottingham stages, provided such a heart warming production that not even the cold weather outside could cool. The Lace Market Theatre are not known for musicals, in fact I think this is the first one that I had seen there, but I don't know why because, based on the musical talent on show, I'm hoping that this will start the musical ball rolling and we will see more in 2015.
"White Christmas" is on at The Nottingham Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 20 December 2014 but tickets are selling like hot mince pies.

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