This Christmas, The Landor takes us back to 1904, to an age of innocence and love letters, with its latest achievement – Meet me in St Louis.
This gorgeous festive treat, warms the soul and tugs on the heartstrings of nostalgia. Set in the Missouri town on the brink of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the optimism and excitement of the time is reflected beautifully in the overall, joyous tone of the production. Rose is about to be proposed to, Esther is falling for the boy next door and Papa’s heading for a promotion… what could possibly go wrong?
With the trills and spills of the opening number, it’s hard not to get swept up in the adoration that the characters feel for their hometown. So, when the prospect of moving to New York arises for their father’s new position, we watch the characters attempt to nurse their individual heartaches.
Within a cast of mixed ability, Esther is played wonderfully by Georgia Permutt, making her professional debut. Permutt brings light and shade to the part as we empathise with her unrequited feelings in The Boy Next Door and enjoy her comedic take on seducing John Truitt by wafting her perfume in his direction, which he then reveals smells like his grandmother’s.
The choreography is fun and smart, particularly in The Trolley Song, but is sometimes a little too big for the rather cosy stage, as demonstrated in The Banjo. Still, the energy of the cast translates fantastically from the stage
Along with a few patchy moments were some beautiful ones. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, sung by Esther at a windowsill to an inconsolable Tootie, (played by the adorable, precocious, talented Rebecca Barry) is particularly moving. The projection of falling snowflakes adds a touch of magic to the scene. At the height of Christmas cheer, the characters dance around the Christmas tree, which becomes a symbol of the home, unity and love.
Meet me in St Louis is a charming production full of fun and festive cheer. It perhaps won’t appeal to the grinches amongst us but will certainly strike a chord with your more cheery Christmas theatre-goer.