White Christmas, review: Darren Day steps effortlessly into Bing Crosby's shoes

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Jonathan Brown
Wednesday 10 December 2014 12:11
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Darren Day and Oliver Tompsett in White Christmas
Darren Day and Oliver Tompsett in White Christmas

The world’s most popular song might be all about the season of joy but it has a strangely complex and mournful undertone.

The film and theatrical extensions of the White Christmas franchise are more straightforward affairs. Although they touch on themes of displacement and loneliness they are at heart, life-affirming romps in which the show must – and does – go on.

Irving Berlin went from refugee singing waiter to author-in-chief of the Great American Songbook. His songs, 17 of which populate Nikolai Foster’s bold reprise, are guaranteed to leave you humming.

Star of the show is former tabloid bad boy Darren Day who takes effortlessly to the role of straight-laced Bob Wallace made famous by king of the crooners Bing Crosby.

Wallace finds love in an unseasonal Vermont when he puts aside hard-nosed showbusiness economics to help an old soldier comrade. There is genuine chemistry between Day and Oliver Tompsett who steps into the dancing shoes of Fred Astaire and Danny Kaye as easy-going sidekick Phil Davis. Equally successful are Emma Williams and Holly Dale Spencer as sister act Betty and Judy.

The Quarry Theatre dazzles with the colour and glamour of post-war America. A Christmas show to dream about.

To 24 January

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