Tuesday, 24 February 2015

ME & MY GIRL at Nottingham Arts Theatre.
West Bridgford Operatic Society - WBOS​

Me & My Girl is the story of an unapologetically unrefined cockney gentleman named Bill Snibson, who learns that he is the 14th heir to the Earl of Hareford, madly in love with his girl, Sally Smith.

From start to end this is one feel good production with some very funny lines and put downs and some memorable songs. Songs like " The Lambeth Walk", " The Sun Has Got It's Hat On", "Leaning On A Lamp Post" and of course the title song.

Bill is played by Rob Harrison, and Rob puts in a brilliant portrayal of the Cockney rogue, complete with some great facial expressions and some of the best lines in the script, especially with Sally when they are having their history lesson. Very funny scene and great characterization. He raised titters from some of the audience where there should not have been titters though due to a slight wardrobe malfunction, which I am sure the costume department will have fixed for the rest of the run. Let's just say it was a good job he was wearing something under those pants!!

Sally Smith was played by Lauren Gill, who has a gorgeously crystal clear voice as well as being lovely to look at. A lovely pairing with Rob as the lovestruck couple, making for a very believable partnership you felt comfortable watching.

Stephen Godward (Sir John Tremayne) is a class act. He has great comic timing and watching Stephen act is like watching a cross between John Savident and Richard Wilson, two of my favourite comedic actors. Mix this comedy with that voice that he has and you cannot go wrong. Stephen also plays a very convincing "squiffy" person too! Sir John is the hero of the piece when he gets Bill and Sally back together for the final scenes.

The Duchess, who tries to change Bill from being a Cockney geezer to someone worthy of the title of Earl, was also a dream to watch. Played by Julie Fowler, she really looked like she was having a ball in the role and what a singing voice she has. The Duchess gets some great put downs in towards Sir John, which drew some hearty laughs from the audience.

Meng Khaw​ was the family solicitor, Mr Parchester, a role which involves him occasionally bursting into song and dance, but would you take advice and pay for his services?

Alice Hands played Lady Jacqueline, a character who, believe it or not for the era actually responds to a bit of spanking from Gerald Bolingbroke, on the advice from Bill. Lady J was all for dumping Gerald, played wonderfully by Richard Hill​, when she heard about the wealth due to be heading to Bill, deciding Bill would be the better catch. Shallow or what?

Alice plays it playful with her seduction of Bill with great comic aplomb and if Richard had been more aloof, he would have been through the roof. I last saw Richard in "The Lion In Winter", in some ways similar to Gerald's character and in other ways miles away. Richard showed some lovely vocals and some impressive tap dancing, and well recovered from a minor slip during his tap routine.

A large supporting cast also made the show a wonderful experience in the choral sections and the choreographed scenes by Maxine Loydall.

Lovingly and imaginatively directed by Max Bromley and a tight musical group under the direction of Steve Williams​. Never too loud to drown the vocals and a perfect accompaniment to the clever and witty lyrics.

As I said, this is a lovely feel good, fun show with songs that you can tap your foot to, a warm story line and some wonderful characters, brought to life by a group of very talented and lovely actors. A show and group that deserves your support.

"Me & My Girl" by the West Bridgford Operatic Society can be seen at The Nottingham Arts Theatre​ until Saturday 28 February 2015

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