While Movin' Out moved in at the Apollo Victoria, another West End musical opened at the Criterion Theatre. David Soul and Janie Dee lead the cast as the eponymous Mack and Mabel in John Doyle’s actor-musician production of Jerry Herman’s 1974 Broadway musical.

Out of the silent movie era and the heady heights of 1920s Hollywood, Mack and Mabel tells the love story of two of director Mack Sennett, “the king of comedy”, and his star, comedienne Mabel Normand. Together they bring magic to the silver screen. Yet ambition, dalliance and the impending threat of changing times make for a tempestuous relationship. The score includes "Look What Happened to Mabel", "I Won’t Send Roses", "Time Heals Everything" "Hundreds of Girls" and "Tap Your Troubles Away".

Whatsonstage.com TV was on hand for the curtain call and post-show party to hear the reactions of theatregoers and celebrity guests – including Jayne Torvill, Nanette Newman, Bryan Forbes, Wendi Peters and octogenarian composer Jerry Herman, who declared this “the definitive Mack and Mabel” – as well as stars David Soul and Janie Dee.

Mack and Mabel is part of the Watermill Theatre’s series of successful actor/musician productions, directed by John Doyle with musical arrangements and direction by Sarah Travis. The production first played at the Newbury venue in summer 2005, with Anna-Jane Casey as Mabel, the role now played by Dee, and launched a UK tour this past January before transferring to the Criterion where it’s booking until 22 July 2006.

Herman’s musical premiered on Broadway in 1974, starring Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters, and was seen at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre in 1995 with Howard McGillin and Caroline O'Connor. The musical has a book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Herman, with revisions by Francine Pascal.

- by Terri Paddock


TO VIEW MACK & MABEL OPENING NIGHT TV FOOTAGE, JUST CLICK ON THE "PLAY" ARROW BUTTON TO THE LEFT OF THE TV SCREEN BELOW.