Anton Burge’s G&I is a nostalgic Second World War comedy musical, and whilst it could never exactly described as cutting-edge, nevertheless features a selection of engaging performances and no shortage of laughs. Led by Anita Harris as British-born but American-emigrated actress/singer Gertrude Lawrence, the company of three carry the show with both accomplished comic timing and pitch-perfect vocals.
Separated from her soldier spouse and finding herself in London for the first time in a long time, Gertrude adds a sorely needed bit of joie de vivre as she arrives to prepare for an E.N.S.A. Tour. As an ageing yet still mischievous actress, she provides guidance and a new sense of hope to Grover, the 27-year-old American soldier slated as her pianist, with whom she soon forms a close bond.
As Gertrude, Anita Harris displays all the confidence and charm that one would expect from the late star (it's almost unbelievable that this energetic leading lady is 66 years old, she exudes the glow and liveliness of an actress Grover’s age). But although the performances of Harris and Ben Stock as Grover are enjoyable, it's that of Brenda Longman as the tight-laced Mary that steals the show. Given the best comic lines and overshadowing the others during ensemble songs, Longman exudes both sharp wit and true Brit grit throughout.
G&I provides an enjoyable night out - particularly for those of a certain age - with director Ninon Jerome neatly interweaving a range of favourite war-time songs. And the month-long run finds timeliness in today’s climate; a story of hope and perseverance in a time of uncertainty and doubt.