28th February 2017 – New Theatre Cardiff
Just back from this (for me) new show, I know the movie and enjoyed it, but before attending the show I had no idea how or if the show varied from the film.
So the story at its heart it’s a boy meets girl tale, but, as all the best story’s are it’s not that simple. In fact it could better be described as boy meets girl whilst he’s engaged to another girl and the girl he meets is about the get engaged to someone else tale! I could continue in this vein to explain the story but won’t in case any readers want to see the show with no **Spoilers** 🙂
This production produced by Dan Looney in association with Paulden Hall Productions, Jason Haigh-Ellery, Tom O’Connell Productions and Tim Lawson. New names (again to me) in the world of touring theatre, put on a great show.
Having not seen a “West End” or “Broadway” production I can’t say it isn’t a reduced version, however I can say it is an impressive set, although there were some slight technical difficulties on the night I attended. Also the cast looks “full”, there is a live orchestra and there is no visible cost cutting in evidence.
The cast: Jon Robyns ‘Robbie Hart‘, Cassie Compton ‘Julia Sullivan‘, Ray Quinn ‘Glen Gulia‘, Ruth Madoc ‘Rosie‘ and Roxanne Pallett ‘Holly‘ are to a performer great! Special mention amongst the equally talented chorus must go to Samuel Holmes ‘George‘ who almost steals the scenes he’s in.
So what’s the story, well ‘Robbie Hart‘ is a wedding singer and whilst performing at one such event he meets ‘Julia‘ a waitress. Although there is an attraction Robbie is engaged to Linda, but when Linda stands him up at the altar further meetings between Robbie and Julia prove to them that there is “something there”. All would be fine except for Glen, Julia’s boyfriend. The story twists and turns from there.
It’s set in 1985 and features all those aspects of that year that those of us who lived through it would like to forget: leg warmers, day-glo colours in make up and clothes, and of course the music. Now this isn’t a jukebox musical, all the songs are original.
Also only two songs make it from the movie, which of course was not a musical. However the two songs that make it: “Somebody Kill me” and “Grow Old with you” are great, and soppy old so and so that I am, I was ecstatic that “Grow old with you” made it into the show.
Stand out moments / songs for me included: “Someday”, “Come out of the dumpster”, “Saturday night in the city” proving that Roxanne Pallett as well as being gorgeous has a “serious set of pipes”, “Not that kind” / “If I told you” and of course “Grow old with you”
I must also say that this show is proof to debunk the “Casting reality TV people in shows is bad”. What I’ve always believed but will now state is you should cast ANYONE who can do the job, and although Ray Quinn was in the X Factor and Roxanne Pallett Dancing on Ice they are both professional performers who can “do the day job”. Their singing, dancing and performances were excellent, you can tell that they are first and foremost professional performers, who have done the training, and certainly based on this show can deliver. So if their appearances on reality shows get more people going to see live theatre then why not.
I should finish by saying I personally had not come across Jon Robyns or Cassie Compton before but they were excellent in the lead roles, their singing was great and the interaction really delivered the relationship between the characters.
Oh I mentioned problems earlier, well we were late going in, the auditorium not opening until gone 7:20pm for a 7:30 start, and from reading previous reviews, the rumours I heard from front of house staff (of technical difficulties with the projection system) appeared to be true, as the show started and carried on with a projection appearing at various points with different ’80’ related’ images. However previous reviews mention 80’s film clips and a countdown to the show starting, so short of a minor delay it didn’t affect the show itself at all.
I say go and see this fun, light, brash show whilst you can, oh and don’t forget your leg warmers! 😉
I was not given a ticket for my review all comments/ opinions are my own.