42nd Street is a light-hearted story full of glitz and glamour. Based on the 1933 film of the same name, the show tells the story of a chorus girl and her aspirations of becoming a star, as she appears in her first Broadway musical.
From the opening number where the curtain slowly rises to reveal nearly thirty pairs of perfectly synchronised tapping dancing feet, this show does not disappoint. The dancing throughout the show is of a very high standard from every member of the company, particular highlights (aside from the opening number) include “Shadows on the Wall”, which as the title suggests makes clever use of shadows to entertain the audience and of course the title number, which features some very impressive tap dancing that left the audience applauding into the next scene.
Jessica Punch who plays the aspiring star, Peggy Sawyer was a delight to watch and showed off some very impressive footwork skills and matched that with a powerful voice. She managed the difficult task of both being able to blend into the chorus when required and when her time came to shine did not look out of place as a leading lady. Marti Webb as the fading star Dorothy Brock and Dave Willets as Julian Marsh the director also give strong performances, indeed there wasn’t really a weak link in the cast.
My only criticisms would be that perhaps the sets didn’t quite match the sparkle of the costumes and performances and that there were a few technical issues with sound. It was such a shame that it seemed that the stage had been miked in such a way that in some places the tap dancing was heard almost too loudly, but when the dancers came further forward the sound was not picked up nearly enough. There were also a couple of instances where performers’ microphones were not turned on quickly enough.
However these are minor issues that can hopefully be ironed out and did not overall detract from what is a really enjoyable show, full of memorable numbers such as “We’re in the Money” ,” Lullaby of Broadway” and of course “42nd Street”, that will mean you leave the theatre smiling and dancing.
- Katharine Morris