The Landor Theatre triumphs once again with an exceptional piece of musical theatre. The production values are splendid as usual – Jason Denvir's simple construction of steps and platforms with long fringe curtains to add a glamour. Add to this the appearance of the performers who are all of first class West End calibre and are costumed with style and elegance by Jean Gray.
The first number is about opening doors to life and this is what the show is all about, blending the stimulating poetry of Richard Maltby, Jr with the music of David Shire. Totally opposite to the Landor’s last production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe, these are not songs to make you tap your feet or want to join in. But here you are seduced into listening intently, paying close attention and recognising the psychological content.
The lives we are exposed to are those of middle class, middle aged Americans. They sing of love the second time around, the problems of combining work with domesticity of despair after the death of a loved one.
Clare Burt sings of being interviewed by a twenty something year old with a high prestige job and huge salary – and the patronising attitude the girl displays to a woman of 49 – probably without realising that it is through the efforts of feminist women like her that she has gained her own advantages and privileges. Michael Cahill sings about being foolishly in love “What am I doing”, Ria Jones and Glyn Kerslake do a comedy number “You wanna be my friend?” and there is a wonderful four handed spoof on keeping fit where they all demonstrate the joys and terrors of the gymnasium. One of the most amusing works, “Miss Byrd,” performed with enormous humour and sense of fun by Ria Jones concerns a demure young woman with a secret, riotous sex life
These songs are performed with wit and style by the company of four, with glorious harmonies by musical director David Randall. This is sophisticated comedy of which we see very little these days - sadly. It is expertly directed by Robert McWhir and choreographed by Matthew Gould.