Our last visit to the womb like arches beneath London Bridge station that have been the scene of many a blissful evening and what a way to end a beautiful relationship with probably the gayest example of the gayest art form known to man. It really is a joy that someone had the bright idea to create “Musical Theatre” as a gift for women and gay men. Oh I know some straight men claim to enjoy a show in much the same way as some gay men claim to like sport (going to the gym to sculpt your body so you look hot when you take your shirt off in Fire does not count as sport), but we all know that in their heart of hearts men of the heterosexual persuasion would much rather be down the pub with a pint and Sky Sports on a 50 inch screen than sitting through the second act of Singin In The Rain with their wife or girlfriend.
Anyway back to Blake Edwards, Henry Mancini, Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn’s stage version of the hit 1982 filim.
Anna Francolini’s English soprano Victoria Grant finds herself destitute in 1930’s Paris when she bumps into Richard Dempsey’s gay nightclub singer Caroll “Toddy” Todd who has the bright idea of transforming her into Count Victor Grazinski, a Polish female impersonator. The Count becomes the toast of Paris and is wooed by Chicago hoodlum King Marchand, Matthew Cutts adding some well needed testosterone to the proceedings, causing him to question his own attitude to sexuality and dumping his girlfriend along the way.
Francolini’s Victoria, Leslie Caron in a tux, smoking jacket or feathers, is an endlessly troubled soul, worrying her way through the moments when she is not performing in cabaret, with only the gentle soul of Richard Dempsey’s Toddy for support. These two make for an immensely likeable leading pair and both sell a song with sweet sounding ease. With able support from Matthew Cutts’ King and Mark Curry, a silver fox with a twinkle in his eye, as nightclub owner Andre Cassell the cast are the best thing about this show.
Despite all those reservations, as a two hour slice of pure entertainment on a cold winter’s night, this would be hard to beat.
Finally I really have to highlight the contributions of actress Jean Perkins, who plays innumerable small roles and provides delightful pre and mid performance entertainment with humour and poise, what a wonderful example to the younger members of the company.
Booking until 15 December 2012, the perfect antidote to the winter blues - Victor/Victoria