Now there's a chance to thrill once more to the Charleston, that shocking new dance, and enjoy the delights of endless summers on the French Riviera in the carefree company of flappers and their beaux. From the moment the curtain rises on Hugh Durrant's brilliantly witty evocation of an art deco interior to reveal Sophie Louise Dann's delicious French maid, Hortense, the audience is drawn into the fun.
You can't accuse director Martin Connor of subtlety. But you can delight in the verve with which his hugely talented cast attack the sparkling song and dance routines that Wilson has so generously whipped into his frothy story. Credit for realising them with such precision and panache must go also to choreographer Bill Deamer and musical supervisor/orchestrator David Steadman.
It's almost invidious to pick out individuals in such a tight ensemble, but Lara Pulver's 'worldly wise' Maisie is particularly winning and "It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love", her duet with Roy Barraclough's adorably cuddly Lord Brocklehurst, is a special treat. She's also well matched by Nick Winston as her ardent American suitor, Bobby.
Elsewhere, Liliane Montevecchi's sexy schoolmarm, Madame Dubonnet, proves it's never too late to show a leg - if they are as stunning and well-limbered as hers! Oliver Tobias strikes an elegant pose as Polly's millionaire father, Perceval Browne. And Zoe Curlett and Joshua Dallas have just the right fresh-faced charm as Polly and the eponymous boyfriend, Tony.
On the night I attended, the audience really loved this show and greeted each succeeding act with claps and cheers. There were also delighted gasps at every scene change, especially the panorama of Nice's beach with the Grande Corniche behind, perfectly set off by Durrant's outrageous take on 20s swimwear.
When everything comes together to create such joie de vivre, the feelgood factor lasts long after you leave the theatre humming the songs!
- Judi Herman (reviewed at the Theatre Royal, Windsor)