Overheard at the Landor Theatre: "I paid 90 quid to see Sweeney Todd and came away depressed, I paid 18 pounds for this show at the Landor and came away happy. I know which I’d rather go to in future.! This seems to be the general consensus of opinion these days – and Jimmy Roberts and Joe DiPietro's sharp new musical The Thing About Men certainly fits the bill.
It is a simple story about a husband, Tom, who works day and night and has no quality time to spend with his wife – even getting sexual satisfaction from a mistress at the office. He discovers his wife has been unfaithful with another man; Sebastian is an artist who works as and when he pleases and can therefore afford to spend time with her. Full of sadness and jealous rage Tom sets out to find and destroy his rival.
The premise may be straightforward, but absolutely nothing works out as expected and we're kept on the edges of our seats throughout - laughing at Tom’s ludicrous situation and yet feeling sympathy for the three characters (all played by seasoned West End performers).
Lucy, the neglected wife, is played by Kate Graham with poignancy and elegance – and John Addison is perfectly cast as her handsome bohemian lover Sebastian. Carrying the bulk of the show on his shoulders is the consummate musical comedy actor Peter Gerald as the husband. There is some really classy singing – most especially in the wondrous duet, "The Greatest Friend" between Tom and Sebastian. The three actors seem to be completely in tune with each other and the show is slick and fast moving.
The source of much humour comes from Lucyelle Cliffe and Steven Webb, who between them play 25 characters in quick succession. Webb is a highly talented actor whose interpretations include a very gay Maitre D', a Roman catholic priest (oddly from the North of Ireland), various drunks, bartenders and a crazy hair stylist. Cliffe turns up as the sexy secretary, a drunken barfly, a country singer etc etc.
This is a true feel good production, directed by Andrew Keates with musical staging by Cressida Carre and effective New York design by Martin Thomas.