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Wonderful Town (Salford & Tour)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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She's back, and as expected, is bringing a something kind of Wonderful to TownConnie Fisher, the star best known for her portrayal of Maria in The Sound of Music, leads the way in the Lowry's latest feel-good production.

Based in New York, the true and highly familiar story tells of two sisters, Ruth Sherwood (Fisher) and Eileen Sherwood (Lucy Van Gasse), who are both on a mission to fulfil their dreams.

This is a classic piece of musical theatre that achieves the right level of escapism, without pushing it into the realms of the ridiculous. It's safe, it's entertaining, and as a consequence, it is enough to get a warm response from the audience.

The ensemble are polished and together, with Tiffany Graves as Helen, Van Gasse and naturally Fisher proving that they are real leading ladies. Michael Xavier as the show's love interest, Bob Baker, is equally charming and engaging to watch.

While some of the songs are not particularly breathtaking on their own, they are delivered superbly by the performers, and of course, the incredible Halle Orchestra. What is so prominent about this production is the fact that each and every cast member so obviously believes in what they are doing – their enthusiasm transmitting across into the auditorium.

Andrew Wright's choreography is also a breath of fresh air, the polished movements and high energy levels proving a real treat to watch. The attention to detail and slickness of every gesture has that same magic appeal of a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers classic.

A collaboration between the Royal Exchange Theatre, the Halle Orchestra and the Lowry - a triple threat indeed, it is certainly worth taking a trip to experience the charm of this Wonderful Town.

- Rebecca Cohen


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