Me and Juliet
It’s prettily done and lustily sung, but Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1953 parody of the Golden Age of musicals is a hotchpotch of half-developed storylines and confusing characters – instantly forgettable, but enjoyable while it lasts.
Set backstage (a nicely realistic design by Alex Marker who consistently works miracles in this tiny space) where chorus girl Jeanie is having trouble with her love life, the show-within-a-show structure is unnecessarily complicated but at least gives replacement lead Betty (a sassy Jodie Jacobs) the chance to shine even if her stage manager boyfriend refuses to date her any more now they’re working on the same production.
Meanwhile Laura Main’s good girl Jeanie, fed up with being given the run around by bad boy lighting electrician Bob (a powerfully voiced, well-muscled John Addison with a fiery temper to match), finds herself drawn to Robert Hands’ unassuming but far more suitable Assistant Stage Manager. Unfortunately, she neglects to tell Bob.
It’s no surprise that this musical comedy proved to be one of the duo’s least commercially successful collaborations – it’s not a patch on Oklahoma or The Sound of Music and lacks the quirky originality of their State Fair, which the Finborough staged last year. But director Thom Southerland has assembled some fine voices and Sally Brooks’ clever choreography exploits the limitations of the stage in this likeable, small scale European premiere.
Finborough, Finborough Road, SW10 9ED
Tube: Earl’s Court
0844 847 1652
Until 30th October
£15 – £18
– Louise Kingsley