The Roar Of The Greasepaint – The Smell Of The Crowd

This 60’s musical by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley is a quirky – though

enjoyable – oddity which is only now having its London premiere.

The tiny

stage is transformed into a circus Big Top by designer Tim Goodchild, the

floor marked out with a circular board game, where Sir and Cocky play out

their Game of Life, observed by a singing, dancing sextet of Pierrot-like

Urchins with little button noses and faces painted white.

There are no apparent rules – and that’s the point in this allegorical,

somewhat absurdist, satire on the British class system in which the two main

protagonists, who have obviously been playing the game for a long, long time

– vie for supremacy.

As in the real world, it’s portly, upper crust Sir who

holds all the aces, changing the rules to suit himself so that shabby,

working class Cocky doesn’t seem to have a hope, no matter how hard he


But it’s probably best to forget the rather laboured message and just enjoy

Ian Judge’s production for the individual musical numbers and likeable


Matthew Ashforde brings a lanky determination to the role of

Cocky, Oliver Beamish struts confidently as Sir. But it’s Terry Doe, making

a brief appearance as The Negro, who not only gives Cocky a taste of power

but proves the highlight of the evening with his heartfelt delivery of a

single, show-stopping number – the bluesy “Feelin’ Good.”


Finborough, Finborough Road, SW10 9ED
Tube: Earl’s Court
0844 847 1652
Until July 2
£17- £20