In the unlikely setting of a Walthamstow pub, a vibrant cast bring the charming romantic musical, She Loves Me, to life. With lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and music by Jerry Bock, whose best-known work is Fiddler On The Roof, and with a book by Joe Masteroff, the show is here directed by Tim McArthur with musical direction by Aaron Clingham.
Carrie Sutton leads a strong cast as Amalia, a sweet and nervous young woman searching for love. The show revolves around her and Georg, and their fellow employees at Maraczek’s perfume shop. Both of them have anonymous romantic pen pals, which is their only respite from the constant bickering they face in their mundane day-to-day. Inevitably, it turns out that they are in fact writing to each other, and through a series of mistaken identities and confusions, they eventually find love.
It is hard to dislike this show; it is charmingly quaint and has some beguiling tunes.
Sutton is a strong presence from her very first entrance. She has a lovely voice and a clear knack for comedy. She handles her big numbers Will He Like Me? and Where’s My Shoe? with ease. Holly Julier tremendously plays Amalia’s more confident colleague, Ilona. She is an effective foil for Amalia and has a glint in her eye that makes her instantly sympathetic, particularly in the powerhouse number, I Resolve. Josh Rochford in the comedic role of Sipos is a highlight. Daniel Slade as the delivery boy Arpad and Alex Morgan as a deliciously greasy Waiter also give good performances.
It is hard to dislike this show; it is charmingly quaint and has some beguiling tunes. The first act is somewhat lengthy, but the cast maintain a high level of energy throughout. Musical Director Aaron Clingham’s new arrangements for a skilful six-piece band deserve a mention; they are beautiful and bring out some lovely motifs in the score. Phillip Aiden’s choreography is also commendable and he uses the male ensemble to their full abilities; Frank Simms gives a splendid solo in the dance break of A Romantic Atmosphere.
Director Tim McArthur has created a delightful piece of theatre in this revival of She Loves Me. There are some lovely touches with a great attention to detail in some scenes and an enduring sense of humour. It is a treat to see classic musical theatre as enjoyable as this.
**** (4 stars)
Runs until October 27th
Disclaimer: Josh Rochford, who is mentioned in this review, is also the Editor of Fourthwall Magazine. We mention this in the interest of fair and unbiased reviewing.