No Way to Treat a Lady (Landor Theatre)
Robert McWhir's production of Douglas J Cohen's musical opened at the Landor Theatre last week
What happens when you are never good enough for your famous, adulated actress mother? Well, in the case of Kit Gill, you become a serial killer after any old lady who reminds you of your mater. Or, if you are Morris Brummell, and your mummy treats you like a three year-old, you become a police detective chasing after serial killers.
We have come to expect beautifully-crafted musicals at the Landor Theatre, and their current production of No Way To Treat a Lady is another treat. Based on the novel by William Goldman, who was inspired by the case of the Boston Strangler, No Way To Treat a Lady was turned into a film in 1968.
Simon Loughton gives his all as the disturbed killer thirsting after press coverage for his crimes, lending his character a mix of the vulnerable and the disturbed. Graham Mackay-Bruce brings much warmth and humanity to Detective Morris Brummell, a cop trying to balance his job, his love life and his overprotective mother. Kelly Burke provides sophistication as Sarah Stone, the glamorous Upper East Side girl who grows tired of the shallowness of her daily life of parties and art, and falls for the scruffy cop who makes her laugh, bringing across the inner conflict of a woman who has to learn to share her man with his job.
The victims and mothers are played with histrionic versatility by Judith Paris, who is sheer delight to watch as she gives each one of her characters a very distinct personality, going from the interfering and clingy Jewish mother, to the forbidding and distant genius parent, as well as the various women the murderer targets.
Robert McWhir directs with flair and sensitivity, imbuing every character with profound humanity and soul, making them into multi-faceted, interesting individuals, while Douglas J. Cohen's score is pleasant on the ear and fits in well with the action. His book and lyrics are sharp, funny and highly original, with lines that are absolute gems.
Richard Lambert's lighting is a character in its own right, creating the right atmosphere for the action, and Robert Griffin's design is unobtrusive and appropriate to the various locations of the plot.
No Way To Treat a Lady is a delight, with humour and depth, in which the performers draw you in within seconds. A jewel of a show, not to be missed.