The show is packed with numbers shamelessly ripped off from Hollywood stalwarts. "Singapore Sue" was clearly separated at birth from "Shanghai Lil" of Footlight Parade, while Mona's torchsong "That Mister Man of Mine" is less of a homage than a direct steal from the Gershwins' "The Man I Love" complete with stepwise descending bass. The six-strong cast has the two most important things you need for musicals: bags of energy and good teeth. They've got so much confidence they should be advertising Colgate. John Gardyne doesn't so much direct as organise the traffic, pile on the sight-gags and wait for the next number which, in Act 1, leaves the cast more than a little adrift. Happily, James Hendy's witty set designs and choreographer Lindsay Dolan save the day (you try doing a Busby Berkeley number with six people in spangly yellow plastic macs and sou'westers).
Sara Crowe, with her peek-a-boo squeak of a voice is wildly miscast as the broad, but her timing and tapping win you over. Unsurprisingly, Kim Criswell as Mona wins the singing stakes hands down, vamping, nay, camping, her way through "The Beguine" like a cross between Madeline Kahn and Miss Piggy, although if I were her, I'd sue over her first costume.
Even pastiche needs a touch more truthfulness than it gets here, but face it: how can you not warm to a show with a Tyrolean dirndl number and the climactic line, "You're going out on the poop deck a chorus girl, but you're coming back a star"?
To 8 June. Booking: 0171-836 6111Reuse content