The Landor, recently dubbed "the unluckiest theatre in London" by Time Out, following a string of cancelled musicals last summer (Gypsy, Moby Dick & Little Shop of Horrors), continued the tradition with the whole first week of Lucky Stiff postponed because of electrical problems. However, having just won several "Offie" awards for productions of The Hired Man & Ragtime, things are looking decidedly rosie at this intimate little venue above the very welcoming Landor pub in Clapham and, electrics sorted, Lucky Stiff was able to belatedly open.
We do love a Sunday matinee, I know actors hate them, but remember what they say about the customer. What else are you going to be doing on a freezing Sunday afternoon other than watching the Eastenders omnibus while snaffling down toasted tea cakes dripping with lurpak and clock watching until it’s cocktail hour? As usual, we got there nice and early and settled into the bar for a couple of vodka and tonics, which we would never normally touch until 6pm, well maybe 5pm on a Sunday, before trundling upstairs for the 3pm performance.
This musical romp through "The Man Who Broke The Bank at Monte Carlo" is written by the same team that went on to give us the gorgeous, aforementioned Ragtime and is a hoot. With two lovely central performances from James Winter as Harry Witherspoon, the unassuming shoe salesman set to inherit his recently deceased uncle Tony’s $6million fortune on condition that he takes the corpse on one last holiday to Monte Carlo, and Abigail Jaye as Annabel Glick, the mild-mannered representative from Brooklyn Universal Dog’s Home, which stands to inherit the money should Harry not follow his uncle’s instructions to the letter, this is classic musical comedy. Mayhem ensues as uncle Tony’s short-sighted mistress, a scene stealing comedic tour de force from Lucy Williamson, arrives with her optometrist brother in tow to claim the millions as her own and all manner of "french maids" pop out of the numerous doors in the simple but effective set.
It proved impossible not be won over by the silliness of the story, the numerous comedy songs, which forward the plot as spoken dialogue is sparse, the talented young cast and a wonderful dance routine led by a tap dancing corpse. Finally look out for Samantha Darling as a fabulous nightclub chanteuse who brings the house down with “Speaking French”. The Landor does it again.
Booking until 25 February 2012, a real winter warmer - Lucky Stiff