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In 1969, less than six months after Paul Nicholas and Annabel Leventon began taking their clothes off in the first London production of the then controversial musical Hair!

This peculiar oddity by Jerry Herman opened – and soon closed – on Broadway. Now – fully clothed and in possession of their bus passes – they’re reunited in veteran choreographer Gillian Lynne’s small scale UK premiere.

Broadway star Betty Buckley isn’t exactly in the first flush of youth either, but as the eccentric Countess Aurelia who sets out to save post war Paris and the world from the greedy capitalists who believe there’s oil to be found beneath the Café Francis, she holds this completely bizarre combination of whimsy and political satire together – and sings some pretty decent numbers too, which, individually, are far stronger than the show as a whole.

Not that it’s necessarily the fault of Lynne or her cast (which also includes her husband as one of the corporate trio).

But if you’re prepared to just go with the flow of what must surely be a labour of love and enjoy its unrealistic optimism, then the daffy comedy of Aurelia’s cronies (Rebecca Lock’s Gabrielle holding conversations with her imaginary dog, Leventon’s equally dotty Constance hearing non-existent voices) then this musical chamber piece confection, based on Giraudoux’s wartime play The Mad Woman of Chaillot, offers intermittent pleasures.

Charing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Villiers Street, WC2N 6NL
Until 30th March
£15 - £35 (premium seats £42.50
charingcrosstheatre.co.uk

Photo: Eric Richmond 


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Theatre review: Dear World at Charing Cross Theatre
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