Review: Me And My Girl, New Earswick Musical Society, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, until April 19
Thursday 17th April 2008
THE Lambeth Walk musical by Yorkshireman Noel Gay pops up every handful of years in York: York Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society in 1997, York Light Opera Society in 2003, and now New Earswick Musical Society.
Light as an Aero bubble, it is a delightfully daft comedy, albeit as sweet as chocolate in its sentimental finale, and its portfolio of efficacious popular songs ensures its regular performance on the amateur stage.
This time, director, choreographer and principal player Ann McCreadie reunites the central partnership of Steve Padfield and Carol Richardson, last seen together in The King And I in April 2006.
In tartan suit, hunting-pink waistcoat and bowler hat – a combination not far removed from Seventies’ punks – Padfield bounds into Hareford Hall as Lambeth costermonger Bill Snibson. Full of bouncy bonhomie, he is informed he is the new Earl of Hareford, much to the shock-horror of McCreadie’s neo-Lady Bracknell, Maria, Duchess of Dene, Martin Rowley’s perennially squiffy Sir John Tremayne, and Stephen Kenwright’s awfully nice, but dim, Gerald.
Tegan Fox’s snobbish, foxy Lady Jaqueline Carstone, in her stockings and negligee, has her eyes on Bill’s new-found position and wealth, especially in the drawing-room seduction tease of You Would If You Could, but loyal Bill has eyes only for his Cockney fish-market sweetheart, the polka-dotted Sally (Carol Richardson). Richardson previously played the role for York Light Opera Society, and here she bonds most amiably with Padfield’s cheeky chap, especially in Me And My Gal, while her torch-song rendition of Once You Lose Your Heart has the audience entirely on her side.
The first half ends with the ever-exuberant Lambeth Walk, spoons jauntily cracked against knees as the blue-blood family vacate the stage to dance in the auditorium.
Kenwright’s Gerald is splendidly comic in the energetic re-start of The Sun Has Got His Hat On, where the ensemble is at its most lively, before Richardson finds all the heartache in Take It On The Chin. Padfield sustains the playful comedy as he wrestles with a tiger rug like a ventriloquist, as McCreadie’s joyous show races to its finale with fizzing fun.
By Charles Hutchinson
Preview: Me And My Girl, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, April 15 to 19
Friday 11th April 2008
Steve Padfield and Carol Richardson are reunited in the principal roles for New Earswick Musical Society’s Me And My Girl at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, from Tuesday to Saturday.
They last played alongside each other in The King And I in April 2006, and as they swap Bangkok for Lambeth, their chemistry is put to the test once more in the roles of Bill Snibson and his girlfriend, Sally.
Lambeth costermonger Bill is revealed to be the new Earl of Hareford, to the horror of his newly discovered aristocratic relations. Bringing him to Hareford Hall, they attempt to educate him in the ways of the gentry and to separate him from his Cockney belle. The result? Chaos of the comical kind in a sunny 1937 musical that boasts such favourites as The Lambeth Walk, The Sun Has Got His Hat On and Leaning On A Lamp Post.
By Charles Hutchinson