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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Sunderland)

The classic musical raises its barn once again at the Sunderland Empire

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers has received a make over, with new songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn being added to the wonderful score and a fresh new set thanks to set designer Anna Louizos.

The story revolves around Adam Pontipee (Sam Attwater) who suddenly marries Milly (Helena Blackman) and takes her into the mountains to live, where she finds Adam intends her to look after his six brothers.

Slowly the brothers realise what they are missing without female company and go into town and capture six girls bringing them back to the mountains, just as they are cut off for the winter. By the time spring arrives we are set for six more weddings and Milly has had a baby.

The whole production is slick, light hearted with many laugh out loud moments and contains such classic songs as Bless Your Beautiful Hide, and Goin' Courtin'. Choreographer Karl Warden ensures the cast produce the great routines, which this show demands.

Having seen many productions of this show, it was nice to see the changes and updating, however having the six brothers take off their shirts a few times does not add to the production at all.

Sam Attwater, while being a good singer and dancer, does not manage to convey the leading man material required and at times seemed lost amongst all the dancers. Sadly he has no on stage chemistry with his co-star Blackman.

This does seem to be a hard part to cast, with Dave Willetts seemingly too old in a previous tour, while Stephen Houghton was the best Adam we have seen on stage for many years.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers continues at the Sunderland Empire until 23 November.