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FILM:April 2014

HALF OF A YELLOW SUN (cert.15 1 hr. 41 mins.) stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Odenigbo, an academic who is heavily involved in his county, Nigeria's politics.

He lives with his devoted houseboy, Ugwu (John Boyega) in the small university town of Nsukka. Thandie Newton plays Odenigbo's lover, Olanna, one half of twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. While Olanna moves to an academic post in Nsukka to be with her lover, her sister, the glamorous Kainene (Anika Noni Rose), takes over the family interests, and falls in love with Richard (Joseph Mawle), a British jounalist.

The lives of these people are woven together and each person's actions have an effect on the others. The personal stories of these folk take place within the turbulent political landscape as their county is torn apart by the events of the Nigerian war, in particular the struggle to establish Biafra as an independent republic. It is 1966 and Odenigbo at first welcomes the lgbo military coup but there is a counter-coup and terrible violence in Nigeria and the breakaway Biafra.

The film is based on the 2007 Orange Prize-winning novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The novel, however, provides insights into the character of the houseboy, Ugwu, who plays a minor part in the film. In fact the movie is composed of a number of short scenes that concentrate on the personal relationships of the two main couples and the civil war forms the background. At the end of the film we are given information about the continuing lives of the characters, as though they are real.

The actors taking the parts of the main characters are all very good and the film is worth seeing for Ejiofor who once more provides the audience with a believable person. Newton is also good in showing the vulnerable side to her character and also the ability to be strong to help her partner.

The director, Biyi Bandele does his best to bring to life a complex novel. He is, however, not able to convey all the intricacies of the characters and surrounding turmoil in little over an hour and a half.

And now a film to take your grandkids to over the Easter holidays. RIO 2 (cert. U 1 hr. 42 mins.) is once again directed by Carlos Saldanha, who directed the very successful first RIO in 2011.

In this movie, the director reunites his characters and returns to Brazil. Following his wife, Jewel's wishes, Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) takes the whole family to the unknown territory of the Amazon. Jewel is keen for the family to live like real birds and wants to get her children away from reliance on human aids like laptops. Blu is against the uprooting, but because he believes that "a happy wife means a happy life!" he goes along with what his wife wants. He believes the family to be the last of the Blue Macaws.

The children are Bia (Amandla Stenberg), who loves reading books and coming out with facts and figures, like her father; Tiago (Pierce Gagnon), the youngest, who is most adventurous even if he often gets into trouble; and Carla (singer/actress/comedian Rachel Crow), the eldest, a lively teen who wants to concentrate on her music away from the family.

While Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway) and the three children are happy to be in the Amazon, particularly Jewel as she is reunited with her father, the dominating Eduardo (Andy Garcia), Blu finds it hard to fit in. The family meets Mimi (Rita Moreno), Eduardo's sister, who likes to speak her mind, even to her overbearing brother. They also meet Roberto (singer-songwriter-record producer Bruno Mars), a former special friend of Jewel, who is still very charming and makes Blu feel inadequate. Blu and Jewl discover that there are many other Blue Macaws in the jungle so they are not alone.

Unfortunately for Blu and his family they are pursued by the villainous cockatoo, Nigel (Jemaine Clement), who is out for revenge after his ignominious departure from RIO, and his side-kick, Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth), a poisonous frog, who adores Nigel. Also accompanying Nigel is Charlie, a mute, tap-dancing anteater. In search of the Blue Macaws, too, are old friends of Blu and Jewel, the humans, Linda (Leslie Mann) and her husband, Tulio (Roderigo Santori), who prove to be of great assistance to our bird family).

In bright colours the film is lively with some bouncy music. In 3D the photography is lovely and the animation first class. Amusing dialogue well put across by the cast of experienced actors, this is one film that should appeal to the whole family.

THE PAST (cert. 18 2 hrs. 3 mins.) is an excellent film, directed by Iranian Asghar Farhadi. I liked it very much and anyone who saw The Separation by the same director should particularly appreciate it. My critic friend Derek Winnert has written the following for us:

Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), an Iranian man has deserted his French wife, Marie Brisson (Bérénice Bejo), and her two children in Paris to return to his homeland. He returns to France after four years to finalise his divorce only to find his soon to be ex-wife's new domestic situation is a minefield.

His wife has started up a new relationship with the young handsome but angry and controlling Arab man named Samir (Tahar Rahim), who also has a son and a wife in a coma. Ahmad is now forced to confront this harsh reality as he re-meets his wife and her daughters from her previous marriage after her request for a divorce. The older daughter thinks her mother is the cause of Samir's wife's comatose state and discloses to Ahmad the details of something heinous she has done in the past.

Subtly, complexly written and intensely directed by Asghar Farhadi, The Past is very powerfully and persuasively performed, with all three main actors standing out. This is a very impressive, claustrophobic, disturbing movie. There's a lot of suppressed rage and anger in the movie, but a lot more deep hurt and endless regret.

It triumphed at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where Bejo won Best Actress award and the film won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, though it lost out to Blue Is the Warmest Colour for the Palme d'Or and also lost out as Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes. This is the trouble with prizes. You can make a great film, as here, and go home empty handed every time.

Although based on David Mamet's 1974 play Sexual Pervisity in Chicago, which was made into a film starring Debi Moore and Rob Lowe in 1986, the new movie ABOUT LAST NIGHT (cert.15 1 hr. 40 mins.) is now a lightweight piece with a Black cast as leads. Set in Los Angeles it actually takes place in the present day but in many ways seems like the 80s. Bernie (Kevin Hart) goes to meet his new girlfriend Joan (Regina Hall). He brings his newly single friend Danny (Michael Ealy) along to try and cheer him up and Joan brings her friend Debbie (Joy Bryant), who is also single. It is not long before Debbie and Danny hook up.

The rest of the film deals with the on-off sexual couplings of Bernie and Joan and the growing, more romantic liaison between Danny and Debbie. While Bernie and Joan can't keep their hands off each other when they are not arguing and fighting, the other couple move in together and seem to be heading for a happy-ever-after future. However, all is not straightforwardly blissful, and while Bernie and Joan secretly get back together while pretending to their friends that they are still at loggerheads, Danny and Debbie actually break up. And so it goes on…

Kevin Hart goes full throttle as Bernie and he is well matched by Regina Hall who also gives her all as his on-off lover. The two work well together and seem to be ad-libbing at least some of the time. They are very loud and there is almost a battle to see who can make the most noise. The other couple is fairly serene by comparison and both Joy Bryant and Michael Early are very good looking and make a lovely couple. While there is not the high voltage exuding from them, there is sufficient romantic tension to keep one's interest. There is a great exchange of views on the sexual performance of their partner by Bernie and Joan at the beginning when they each tell their friend what happened the night before. Their description of the sexual acts that took place varies in both the quality and longevity of the main act.

Hart now has a huge personal following. While I am certainly not one of his fans, there is enough in this film, albeit of a fairly low standard, to make one smile, although not sufficient to bring about real laughter. For an evening of very light entertainment, this movie might well fit the bill.

     

 

 


 

THEATRE TIP

I have officially found a replacement for Judi Dench: well, not so much a replacement as an addition. We always knew that Imelda Staunton was a good film actress; her performance in Vera Drake was just wonderful. Now in GOOD PEOPLE (Hampstead Theatre until 5 April and transfers to the Noel Coward Theatre 10 April until 14 June 2014 Box Office: 0844 482 5130) Staunton shows that she is a magnificent stage actress too.

In David Lindsay-Abaire's well-written play she is Margaret - known as Margie - who works in a dollar-store in South Boston, a working class area. She is often late as she is caught up with the care of her disabled daughter. When she loses her job she believes that an old boyfriend, Mike (Lloyd Owen), who has recently returned as a successful doctor in the fertility field, will be able to help her as, "Mikey…he was always good people."

Imelda Staunton as Margaret & Lloyd Owen as Mike in Good People

Desperate for a job as she is so short of money that she can't pay the rent, Margie goes to his office then his home to plead with him. He is now wealthy with a younger wife, Kate (Angel Coulby) and has no job for her. The difference between the two is vividly portrayed - where Mike has been able to get a good education and rise up in the world. Margie just exists as a single mother with no hope for a bright future.

The cast are all very fine with lovely performances from everyone, particularly June Watson as Margie's landlady with a sharp tongue and Angel Coultby as Mike's wife who welcomes Kate and tries to offer her a baby-sitting job which her husband vetoes. Lloyd Owen manages to convey the awkwardness Mike feels in confronting his former girlfriend with his pride in having managed to progress in the world. Above all Staunton is pitch perfect from her accent which is spot-on to her projection and above all her ability to inhabit her character in such a way that although we see her behaving in a nasty way with her former boyfriend we support her desire to look after her daughter and have a better life.

The move to the West End is well-deserved and the play is highly recommended. Book now!

My colleague, Ted Craig reviews the next play for us:

THE TWO WORLDS OF CHARLIE F is a most stunning piece of theatre and is highly recommended. It is on a national tour* until the end of June - if it is coming anywhere near you, don't miss it!

The Two Worlds of Charlie F is a soldier's view of service, injury and recovery. Moving from the war in Afghanistan, through the dream world of morphine-induced hallucinations to the physio rooms of Headley Court, the play explores the consequences of injury, both physical and psychological, and its effects on others as the soldiers fight to win the new battle for survival at home.

Cassidy Little in Charlie F

While this sounds heavy it is not - it's a very personal and very moving look at the effects of war on individual combatants which also has a huge amount of humour and humanity.

One stunning scene has a traditional Sergeant Major ordering a soldier to fall in. The soldier enters in full uniform and the sergeant major describes what he is wearing and carrying; not only the usual gun, ammunition, bayonet and all but a full medical kit including ligatures and morphine. We are told that it weighs 70 kilos and is carried all day in the 40+ degree heat of Afghanistan. Then the soldier is ordered to strip to his shorts - this he does, revealing a very fit, buff body. The sergeant major then tells us about the effects of the soldier stepping on an improvised explosive device and proceeds to draw on the soldier's body with a red pen where the various injuries could be. The soldier ends up with red ink all over him and the effect is both appalling and very moving as we are so simply made aware of the every-day dangers faced by the soldiers.

The company of fifteen are very strong, many are in wheelchairs and they are led by Cassidy Little, a Canadian-born Royal Marine who lost a leg in his second tour of Afghanistan and who introduces the play and acts as our guide throughout. He gives a splendid, authoritative and telling performance and sets the tone for a thoroughly professional and inspiring evening.

Ted Craig

THE TWO WORLDS OF CHARLIE F is currently on a national tour. Its future dates are:

  • 17-22 March Richmond Theatre 0844 871 7651
  • 26 - 29 March Wolverhampton Grand 01902 42 92 12
  • 31 March – 5 April Malvern Theatre 01684 892 277
  • 14-19 April Nottingham Theatre Royal 0115 989 5555
  • 21 – 26 April Churchill Theatre Bromley 0844 871 7620
  • 28 April – 3 May Newcastle Theatre Royal 0844 811 2121
  • 6-10 May Norwich Theatre Royal 01603 63 00 00
  • 19-21 May Wycombe Swan 01494 512 000
  • 22-24 May G Live Guildford 0844 7701 797
  • 27-31 May Mercury Theatre Colchester 01206 573948
  • 2-7 June Truro Hall for Cornwall 01872 262 466
  • 9 - 14 June Opera House Manchester 0844 871 301

While not expecting to really like this show, I ended up loudly applauding alongside the most enthusiastic audience I have come across this year. Sure, I CAN'T SING! (London Palladium booking until 25 October 2014 Box office 0844 412 2704) is no masterpiece, but the writing and music of Harry Hill and Steve Brown along with lively direction by Sean Foley, bring wit and sparkle to this satirical portrayal of the X Factor talent-show. There is no great story-line but what there is comes across as tender in the midst of all the razzle dazzle of the on-stage antics. Although Simon Cowell is portrayed as an egotistical producer and co-host of the real X Factor, we notice with surprise that he is a co-producer of I Can't Sing!

The story is one that we would expect from the reality show format in that each of the main characters is given a back story - and quite a lot of fun is gained from some of them. This musical highlights Chenice (Cynthia Erivo), who wants to study but has no money. She lives with her dying grandfather in a caravan beneath a London motorway. When Max (Alan Morrissey), a plumber, enters her life he persuades her to apply for the X Factor. By various means she and Max become contestants.

They fall for each other and remain together in spite of moves by Simon Cowell (Nigel Harman) and his co-panellist Jordy (Victoria Elliott) - the Cheryl Cole look alike - to separate them.

The show as with the real one has a number of weird contestants, all of whom flaunt their back stories in a series of satirical songs. It might be difficult for those not familiar with the actual X Factor to understand what is going on. And it is offensive to make fun of a hunchback and other disabilities and races. This show reminded me of Jerry Springer: the Musical, but that was far rudder!

Katy Secombe is particularly good as Brenda, a supermarket cashier singing and dancing on a supermarket conveyor belt. Nigel Harman captures the swagger and over-confident self-absorbent manner of Cowell really well and his open shirt is instantly recognisable. Cynthia Erivo has a strong musical tone and puts across her numbers with verve. Alan Morrissey, too, has a likeable persona and can sing well.

There are echoes of songs from other musicals - obviously deliberate - so we have a reminder of Les Mis when the hopeful contestants waiting outside the TV centre raise a banner and move forward. The choreography is very simple and the chorus dancing reminded me of when I worked on Sunday Night at the Palladium many moons ago!

The show begins and ends with Simon: at the start we see his ambitions grow from when he was a small boy and at the end ….well, let's say a flying saucer is involved.

My overall verdict would be that it is loud, brash, amusing and well done.

The RSC have pulled off a tremendous feat in bringing Hilary Mantel's two multi-award winning books to the stage. So successful are they in Stratford that both are now coming to London and will play together with the same cast of characters throughout. This was done a long time ago, 1980 in fact, by Trevor Nunn and John Caird in their production of Nicholas Nickleby at the Aldwych Theatre for the RSC.

WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES (RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford -upon -Avon until 29 March then at the Aldwych Theatre, London 1 May until 6 September 2014)

Attempting the adaptation of huge novels like Mantel's is an enormous task. Both plays run for three hours with an interval and even then much of the novel is discarded or truncated. WOLF HALL starts in 1527 when Henry V111 has been on the throne for almost 20 years without a male heir. He blames Katherine of Aragon his wife, who was the wife of his brother who died. Now the King wants a divorce in order to marry Anne Boleyn and he orders Cardinal Wolsey to make the Pope grant an annulment.

Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell and Lydia Leonard as Ann Boleyn

Thomas Cromwell, a lawyer and former mercenary, of low birth and a violent background works for the Cardinal and grows in importance in the life of the King. The King is displeased at the Cardinal's delay and Cromwell works to give the King what he wants and at the same time advance his own position and political agenda. The time span is approximately 1527 to 1535.

The second part, BRING UP THE BODIES follows directly on. It is now 1535 and Anne Boleyn is Henry's wife and therefore Queen of England, in the main due to Thomas Cromwell who managed to get Archbishop Thomas Cranmer to annul the King's first marriage to Katherine of Aragon. The former Queen and her daughter are under house arrest, but in separate homes. The divorce and re-marriage have caused a break with the Catholic Church and England is in a precarious position.

The Lord Chancellor, Thomas More has been executed and Cardinal Wolsey is dead. Cromwell is very close to the King, who treats him as his main advisor. Poor Anne Boleyn's downfall is carefully chronicled. Still out to further his own ambitions, Cromwell manipulates everyone to achieve his aims, at the same time obeying Henry and looking after England's interests. While Mantels books tell the story mainly from Cromwell's point of view, the play widens the focus and with Ben Miles in the main part, we are still able to see how Cromwell is able to get his own way and persuade the King that he is the right person to have by his side.

The two main women in these plays are nicely contrasted by Lucy Briers as his first wife, the religious and loyal Katharine and Lydia Leonard as feisty Anne of Boleyn. There is a brilliant characterisation of Princess Mary, Henry's daughter with Katharine, by Leah Brotherhood. We also see Brotherhood as Jane Seymour who gradually grows in strength as she edges upwards.

Mike Poulton's dramatisation of Mantel's novels is outstanding and under director Jeremy Herrin and a wonderful group of actors the epic books have been turned into accessible plays that are not to be missed.

I urge you to buy your tickets now!

FATAL ATTRACTION (Haymarket Theatre until 21 June 2014 Box office: 020 7930 8800) suffers from its audience being over familiar with the 1987 film version which starred Michael Douglas as the errant husband and Glenn Close as the evil ex-lover out for revenge - yes it is the film with the boiling of the child's bunny rabbit.

Mark Bazeley is the New York lawyer, Dan Gallagher, who, while his wife Beth (Kristin Davis) is away, picks up a book editor, Alex Forest (Natascha McElhone) in a bar and has a highly sexual affair with her over two days. While Dan is quite content to go back to his wife and daughter at the end of this time, Alex stalks him and undertakes a number of terrifying and increasingly psychotic acts, including the bunny boiling.

Mark Bazeley as Dan Gallagher and Natascha McElhone as Alex Forrest

Dan acts as narrator and the audience is pushed to feel sorry for him, when actually he began the whole sorry business by cheating on the wife he professes to love.

It is surprising to find that Trevor Nunn has chosen this play to direct as he is usually spot-on in discerning what will work. He has, however, got a competent cast. McElhone is absolutely beautiful and manages to show Alex's increasingly disturbed behaviour in a way that is almost believable. I didn't find Bazeley exuding a huge amount of charm, although his scenes with his family work well. Davis in the more minor female role, gives a good sympathetic rendering of the unsuspecting wife.

The play looks good with the production designed by Robert Jones and the scenes segue well one into the next. James Dearden has altered parts of his film script for the theatrical adaptation and the ending is different, so the audience will still find some surprises here.

As a play which teaches - or attempts to teach - husbands that cheating is wrong and can lead to disaster it works and on that note you are recommended to see the play!

The little Park Theatre (Box office 020 7870 6876), which is just two minutes from Finsbury Park tube station, has not been going long, but is already gaining a reputation as a place to visit to see good shows.

Steve John Shepherd (left) and James Bolam in Bomber's Moon

The recently staged DO I HEAR A WALTZ, which I originally saw as one of the Lost Musicals, is based on the play The Time of the Cuckoos, has music by Richard Rogers, and lyrics by Stephen Sondhiem. People might be familiar with the story through the 1955 film Summertime starring Katherine Hepburn. At the Park Theatre it was staged in a minimalist style with the characters seated on chairs and around tables with little in the way of set design - other than back cloths depicting the scene - or big set design.

Revived by the Charles Court Opera we see an American secretary Leona (Rebecca Seale) falling in love with an antiques dealer, Renato (Philip Lee). This is a pleasant enough piece which is well sung by all and contains amusing moments as well as giving us a somewhat conventional love story. There are not many really catchy songs but No Understand shows how Sondheim presents a little play all in one song.

Very different is BOMBER'S MOON now on at the Park Theatre until 11 May. Box office: 020-7870 6876.

Based on writer William Ivory hearing his father talk about his time in the RAF Bomber Command, it is a very well written play which manages to deal with faith as well as an old man's recall of his second World War experiences. The faith part comes when the old man, Jimmy (James Bolam) who lives in a residential care home meets his new carer, David (Steve John Shepherd) who tells his story of how he became a committed Catholic. Jimmy asserts his right to be an atheist and the two men discuss what faith means or doesn't mean to them. But neither is completely truthful and we gradually learn more about each of them and the part that faith plays in their lives.

At the beginning I was concerned that the emphasis on pills, suppositories and toilet going might all prove too much to watch, but the play didn't dwell on the personal care so much as on the wider issues of being old, one's memories all being in the past and the younger man's approach to the older one and how he combines his faith with everyday life. There are many very funny scenes and also moving ones when Jimmy, who is suffering from a number of serious complaints, is forced to depend on David.

Bolam is really good in the part of the older man. We see him alone and with David (who also plays others in Jimmy's past) remembering his war years and his time flying and the mounting adrenaline before an attack. Steve John Shepherd proves a competent partner and his own reminiscences are well acted. Director Matt Ashton manages to combine the past memories with the action taking place at the present time in the residential home. It's a well-written play, beautifully delivered by the two actors. Go see.

What must be one of the worst titles of a show ever, URINETOWN: the musical (St James Theatre until May 3 Box office: 0844 264 2140) is actually very good indeed.

The musical has more than a touch of Brecht about it as the narrator Officer Lockstock (Jonathan Slinger) talks to the audience in a direct manner and comments on the action. We see a society which is deprived of their private toilets and the prices rise as they queue up to use the public ones but when they are no longer able to afford the public toilets, some pee in the streets and are subject to arrest. The public amenities are run by the ruthless capitalist Caldwell B. Caldwell (Simon Paisley Day).

Richard Fleeshman (Bobby Strong) and Jenna Russell (Penelope Pennywise)

When his daughter Hope Cladwell (Rosanna Hyland) returns home she falls in love with the rebel Bobby Strong (Richard Fleeshman) leading to a distinct clash between her and her dad.

Amongst the outstanding characters in Urinetown Jenna Russell stands out as Penelope Pennywise, the stroppy lavatory attendant and Karis Jack is a feisty Little Sally. There is some good comic business performed by the large cast. Paisley Day shows us his true villainous side as the capitalist and Hyland makes a sweet romantic feminist who joins the rebels. Slinger, who is well known to RSC audiences, gives a surprisingly good turn in a comic role.

There are some clever lyrics and the music is of the Sondheim kind - telling a story and/or illustrating a character. The set is striking too with the public amenity dominating the middle of the stage when the show opens. Director Jamie Lloyd makes sure that the energy of the show keeps going. If you want a musical which addresses environmental issues in an amusing, non-patronising manner, see this and enjoy the music, lyrics and rounded performances.

The Old Vic has come up with an extraordinary drama set in America and focussing on a family who are virtually torn asunder when their family secrets are exposed to each other. While OTHER DESERT CITIES (until 24 May Box office: 0844 871 7628) has many dramatic moments, it is also very amusing and well directed by Lindsay Posner, who catches the rhythm of the play’s American author, Jon Robin Baitz, and also uses the Old Vic’s transformation into an in-the–round stage with authority.

When their daughter Brooke (Martha Plimpton), who has been in hospital suffering from depression, returns home to Palm Springs for the holidays on Christmas eve 2003, her father, Lyman Wyeth (Peter Egan), a retired movie star and mother Polly (Sinead Cusack) a former writer of a series of low grade movies, and an ardent Republican like her husband, hope for a peaceful family Christmas. But Brooke has just completed a book about her family and in particular the suicide of the oldest boy, who has planted a bomb in US army recruitment centre. The bomb killed the janitor.

Peter Egan as Lyman and Sinead Cusack as Polly in Other Desert Cities

Her brother Trip (Daniel Lapine), the producer of a TV show has also returned home and he and Polly's alcoholic sister, Silda (Clare Higgins) already know about the book. It is now that Brooke tells her parents and shows them the book. Not surprisingly they are horrified and plead with their daughter to wait until they are dead to reveal it.

There are even more surprises to come and the play remains absorbing until the end with many laughs along the way as well as more serious moments when the play deals with alcoholism, depression, suicide, family ties, loyalty and other matters with which this particular family have to cope.

The play has some of the best ensemble acting that I have seen in a long while. It would be invidious to pick out one or two actors as every single member has their moment in the spotlight and all deliver exceedingly well. Clare Higgins' skin even has the look of an alcoholic. The play is certainly worth seeing.

And now let's finish with another musical based on a film. DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (Savoy theatre booking until 29 November Box Office 0844 871 3046), book by Jeffrey Lane, music and lyrics by Dabid Yazbek, should appeal to many. Set on the French Riviera in the late 1950s, it certainly has an old fashioned air in the story of a very successful conman, Lawrence (Robert Lindsay) who makes loads of money getting very rich women to part with their cash and jewellery by telling them tall stories and pretending to be a different character with each one

Rufus Hound and Robert Lindsay in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

He meets and takes under his wing Freddy (Rufus Hound) who is dealing with very small amounts of money. Lawrence decides to teach him how to enter the big league. During their time on the Riviera they come into contact with two women: rich English tourist, Muriel (Samantha Bond) and Katherine Kingsley, as a seemingly very rich woman from the Midwest. Minor characters include a police chief (John Marquez), who works alongside the two conmen and has a hot romantic encounter with Muriel.

Based on the 1988 film starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, the musical doesn't have stars of this calibre, but Lindsay and Hound work well together and the audience can feel the chemistry between them. Lindsay is sometimes a bit too self-assured when he talks to the conductor and almost directs the flow of the scenes, but Hound remains in second place. Bond has a delightful comic touch and the dances are presented competently under choreographer and director Jerry Mitchell.

While Kingsley really knows how to dance, none of the four leads has a great voice, which makes the musical somewhat lacking in musicality. A number of the songs are in the style of better known ones such as Oklahoma. However, Lindsay certainly has charm and Hound is a most likeable chap. I think you should pass a most agreeable evening at the theatre with these scoundrels.

     
     

Carlie Newman

   
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