In the heart of Wimbledon you’ll find Harry Warner and Al Dubin’s legendary Broadway musical 42nd Street tapping to showbiz success for a limited time only (11-15 September).
The American export tells the tale of small town girl, Peggy Sawyer, who dreams of being a Broadway star in the new Julian Marsh production of Pretty Lady. Although an original chorus dancer, veteran star Dorothy Brock’s unfortunate ankle accident turns into Peggy’s opportune moment to dazzle audiences with her goofy charm.
Taking centre stage are Dave Willetts as Julian Marsh, Marti Webb as Dorothy Brock and Jessica Punch as Peggy Sawyer. Supporting them are a cast of lovely girls and boys spanning several generations but all display stunning footwork and authentic Hollywood glamour (slightly marred by transatlantic accents) in equal measure.
Being the heavyweight sensation that it is, the lacklustre set could benefit with more oomph and sparkle and a finer point could be made of the Great Depression climate. At the forefront, director Mark Bramble’s 42nd Street is a singing/dancing show and it is at its best when the two elements are combined. Sadly though, when Graeme Henderson’s intricate choreography isn’t in use, the acting scenes fall short of the WOW factor that is so abundant in every dancing number.
Still, the chipmunk pitch girls with their bouncy hair and the dapper boy’s charisma roaring in and out of Harry Warner’s classics, "We’re In The Money" and "Shuffle to Buffalo" redeem the scene sad acting. Especially memorable however, is Dave Willets’ soaring "Lullaby of Broadway", where he shows his impressive vocal range alongside old time charm.
After the succession of dizzyingly fantastic dances, the high voltage finale featuring the title song sees slick synchronicity once again with sheer taptastic energy making you want to tap down the famous street yourself.
- Georgie Bradley