The Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch has built itself a reputation for producing successful musicals, both repertoire standards and original pieces. Latest in the sequence is Stephen Wyatt’s Pick Yourself Up, for which he has cannibalised the plot from Molière”s Le médicin malgré lui and the music mainly from Jerome Kern and Cole Porter.
We are in a night-club somewhere in Manhattan. during the Prohibition Era of the 1930s. That is, when we’re not in a street outside the club, or in the local crime boss’ luxurious mansion. This mafioso, Joe (Simon Jessup), has a problem. He needs to marry off his daughter Gloria (Sarah Scowen) to a rival. But she, of course, is in love with someone else – the slightly dippy Harry (Jared Ashe).
Meanwhile back at the club proprietor Alphonse (Tom Jude) has not only to keep the gangsters happy but to ensure that his song-and-dance duo of Ruby (Natasha Moore) and Tom (Elliot Harper) don’t allow their matrimonial squabble to spill too ostentatiously onto the dance-floor. Mix in a pair of enforcer (Matthew Quinn as Herbie and Greg Last as Louie) and Alison Harding as Joe’s duster-wielding event-manipulating maid Tallulah… well, I don’t need to tell you what mayhem ensues. But it all comes right in the end.
Musical director Julian Littman makes the most of the brass-playing, string-plucking skills of the cast. Cara Elston’s choreography slips in the occasional homage to Busby Berkeley and Fred Astaire as well as oh-so-gently! sending up aspects of this, Matt Devitt’s production keeps things moving briskly. The music is well performed; the title number, “Friendship” , "Let's misbehave" and “I’ve got you under my skin” come over aptly. One is conscious that the performers wear mikes; most of the time this is not intrusive.