The first major London revival of Neil Simon’s musical They're Playing Our Song, starring Alistair McGowan and Connie Fisher, opened last night (4 August 2008, previews from 25 July) at the Menier Chocolate Factory, where it continues until 28 September (See News, 23 Jun 2008). This is Fisher’s first full stage role since leaving The Sound of Music in February, and critics were eager to see if she could move beyond Maria Von Trapp.

The semi-autobiographical story is based on the often turbulent relationship between composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, who provide the music and lyrics for the piece. Vernon Gersch, a neurotic and successful composer with a host of awards, is paired up with the lovably eccentric Sonia Walsk, a young lyricist who’s a hopeless time-keeper and dresses in cast-off theatre costumes. The unlikely pairing seems destined to falter off key, but as their working relationship grows, so do their feelings for each other.

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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the curtain call and post-show party at the Menier Chocolate Factory along with the cast, director, artistic director David Babani and other first-night guests.

They're Playing Our Song is directed by Fiona Laird and designed by Matthew Wright, with choreography by Sam Spencer-Lane and musical supervision and orchestrations by Caroline Humprhis. Fisher and McGowan are joined in the cast by Tricia Adele-Turner, Matthew Cole, Lyndsey Gardiner, Kaisa Hammarlund, Eugene McCoy and Christopher Ragland.

After shooting to fame on the first BBC musical casting programme How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? two years ago, Connie Fisher subsequently won best newcomer prizes at both the Whatsonstage.com and Critics’ Circle Awards for The Sound of Music. Over the past two years, TV impressionist Alistair McGowan has also accumulated a number of musical credits including Merry Wives – The Musical, The Mikado, the West End transfer of the Menier revival of Little Shop of Horrors, for which he was Olivier-nominated, and, most recently, Cabaret.

They're Playing Our Song had its Broadway premiere in 1979, starring Robert Klein and Luci Arnaz. The West End premiere a year later starred Tom Conti and Gemma Craven. The score includes “Workin’ It Out”, “If He Really Knew Me”, “Just for Tonight”, “I Still Believe in Love” and the title song.

-by Terri Paddock