42nd Street: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London
Reviewed 17th January 2018
This musical like no other has the West End’s largest cast and a host of iconic songs including ‘42nd Street’, ‘We’re In the Money’, ‘Lullaby of Broadway’, ‘Shuffle Off To Buffalo’, and ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’. It tells the story of a young, fresh actress and dancer; Peggy Sawyer. She is just another face in the chorus line. However when the leading lady gets injured will Peggy have a chance of the stardom that she’s always dreamt of?
From the offset this show sparkles and shines. It is a feast for the eyes and ears. From the glorious costumes to outstanding tapping this production excels. The entire cast are outrageously talented as the audience is taken swiftly back to Broadway in 1933 to watch a new production ‘Pretty Lady’.
The absolute highlight of this show was the exquisite dancing! The dance numbers were hugely impressive. Intricate footwork, superb timing and use of the stage combined to make an outstanding spectacle. The large ensemble cast were completely in sync and use of the large stage was fantastic. The formations within the show also meant that the audience could fully appreciate all of the cast.
Original choreography by Gower Champion has been mixed with new choreography from Broadway choreographer Randy Skinner. The result is just magnificent! Each number is different and just watching the amazing tapping skills is sure to make your feet feel tired. The mix of dance styles throughout the show keeps it interesting and the complexity of the steps is incredible, culminating in several show stopping moments.
The staging and direction from Mark Bramble is fantastic and makes great use of the large stage. The use of overhead mirrors and a raked stage ensures that all of auditorium can enjoy the action. The set, designed by Douglas W. Schmidt, pays homage to the 1933 style whilst still keeping it modern. The use of different levels in the show helps focus the audience’s attention especially as the stage itself is so large. Everything felt top quality and clearly every detail has been thought about. The old fashioned painted back drops are particularly lovely and rare to see in modern theatre.
The costumes by Roger Kirk are delightful. Full of glamour, glitz and sparkles. They suit the era completely. The quick changes were performed with ease and every costume fitted the performer perfectly. Again, the level of detail is impeccable.
This musical however is not just about the dancing but also the superb score by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. The cast performed all of the songs brilliantly, something which is especially hard to do when also performing the complicated and energetic choreography.
The principle cast were all fantastic. Sheena Easton, Dorothy Brock, certainly knows how to command a stage and her vocals were fantastic. Tom Lister impressed as the tough director and producer, Julian Marsh. Again, his vocals were strong and he had a good tone to his voice.
However it is Clare Halse asPeggy Sawyer who is just remarkable. Vocally, she delivers each song perfectly and her dancing is amazing. Not only this but she was also able to show fantastic characterisation throughout the challenging show. She is definitely one to watch for the future.
In addition, Stuart Neal and Jasna Ivir both impressed with their great vocals and acting as Billy Lawlor and Maggie Jones.
This show is simply stunning to watch. A mixture of incredible dancing, classic songs and wonderful costumes. It is a real treat. It’ll make you exhausted watching it but also leave you beaming as you leave the theatre. Be sure not to miss this impressive spectacle of a show!
For more information about 42nd Street see https://42ndstreetmusical.co.uk
42nd Street is booking until 20th October 2018, for great tickets and deals see the London Box Office by clicking here.
Photo Credit: Official Production photographs from 42ndstreetmusical.co.uk