Friday, 27 December 2013
Theatre review: Meet Me In St Louis
If you're not expecting anything too cutting-edge Meet Me In St Louis provides perfect festive fare, and although it's inevitably a cheese-fest that's what you're here for. Plus, Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane's songs are better than expected: Many big musicals have little to recommend them beyond the big standards, but here most times the cast break into song there's something to tap your feet along to.
So as well as the well-known numbers like "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" there's fun to be had with "The Boy Next Door" and the big dance showstopper "The Banjo." (A banjo does feature in the latter, although I wasn't sure it was actually being used; I mentioned this on Twitter and the show's MD Michael Webborn replied that the banjo is being played and he can hear it every night; it wasn't audible from where I was sitting though.)
Georgia Permutt is very good as leading lady Esther Smith, whose romance with the boy next door John Truitt (Piers Bate) forms the core storyline, and is in strong voice performing the lion's share of the big numbers. Also good is Emily Jeffreys as oldest sister Rose, although Hugh Wheeler's book doesn't really do much to flesh out her relationship with millionaire Warren Sheffield (Thomas Judd.) This is simple, seasonal family fun, and you'll come out of it humming the title song - there's much better ones in the show but that one gets about 37 reprises, so that's the one you'll be stuck with.
Meet Me In St Louis by Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane and Hugh Wheeler is booking until the 18th of January at the Landor Theatre.
Running time: 2 hours 25 minutes including interval.