This Is My Family (Sheffield)
Firth's unique style is stamped all over the production as he is composer, lyricist and author. This is the man who brought us the film and stage versions of Calendar Girls, so my expectations were high.
Firth captures the minutiae of family life in a heart-warming yet not clichéd manner - the parents squabbling in the supermarket, the mother moaning about the in-laws, the nostalgic grandparent, the child telling white lies at school; the difficult son; there is a character and situation for everyone to relate to.
I'm more enamoured by the characters themselves than the storyline. Daughter Nicky wins a competition and can choose anywhere to visit with her family. She chooses the campsite where her parents first met; chaos ensues due to the weather, the Goth son, the grandmother and everyone involved in some respect. What cannot be disputed despite the bickering and sniping is (pardon the cheesiness) the strong bond and love that this family clearly have for each other. Evelyn Hoskins as Nicky narrates the show with charisma, comic timing and a teenage cheekiness.
A simple yet intricate set, an impressive live accompaniment, and Daniel Evans' seamless direction make the show easy on the eye and the ear.
The bubbly, buxom Rachel Lumberg as Sian – who recently enjoyed success in The Full Monty - oozes sexual innuendo and risqué quips, most of which would perhaps go over children's heads but will be thoroughly enjoyed by adults if the raucous laughter I witnessed is anything to go by.
The first half of the show flies by, and the standing ovation at the finale proves what an easy-to-watch, hilarious, jovial show this is; a fun night out guaranteed for one and all.
This Is My Family runs until Saturday 20 July at The Studio Theatre, Sheffield. For tickets and more information go to www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or contact the Box Office on 0114 249 6000.