42nd Street

Review

Stephen (below) as Julian Marsh

It's so easy to see why Peggy Sawyer found him irresistible!

(photograph courtesy of Stephen McGann)

42nd Street, for those who don't know it, is set in 1933 in New York and Philadelphia. Theatre impressario Julian Marsh is producing a new show, 'Pretty Lady'. We join the show at the first auditions, just in time to meet late arrival Peggy Sawyer who is hoping to try out for her first role but arrives too late. As the story unfolds Peggy does join the cast and proves to be an excellent dancer... but makes an enemy in the leading lady, Dorothy Brock. Ms Brock only got the role due to her sugar Daddy, Abner Dillon, bankrolling the production! When an accident befalls Ms Brock and the blame is laid on to Peggy, she is sacked. The rest of the dancers however, knowing how good Peggy is, persuade Julian to give her the lead role so the show can go on. After much persuasion Peggy agrees and the show finally opens to rapturous applause and confirms jobs for all the cast for the next two years.

The curtain rose only slightly as this production started, to give a glimpse of numerous pairs of tapping feet, perfectly in time and setting the pace for this fast moving show. The dance numbers are at the heart of this show and they didn't disappoint. An incredibly strong ensemble supported the main characters. Jessica Punch as Peggy and Julia Nagle as Dorothy Brock played their parts to perfection - one a naive girl new to the business, the other an ageing star, both were outstanding. Bruce Montague as sugar daddy Abner Dillon was great fun to watch and Graeme Henderson as Andy Lee deserves a special mention for his superb footwork.

But Stephen, as Julian Marsh, stole the show. From his worry over whether 'Pretty Lady' will recoup the losses he has made, to the disciplinarian who doesn't want his dancers to show their steps off in the street. From the anger when he feels his show has been ruined by a chorus girl to his persuasive techniques when he wants her to take the lead role, every step of the way Stephen had the audience eating out of his hands. But his finest moments by far were the scene when he was teaching Peggy to act (absolutely hilarious) and the songs he sang. He sang solo on 'Lullaby on Broadway' and '42nd Street' and his voice is beautiful to listen to - strong and clear with a wonderful tone, such a pleasure. The audiences loved him and the show went down a storm, but nowhere better than the last night of the tour in Wimbledon. The cast were on top form and the audience were with them every step of the way. It was a truly wonderful night of theatre and an excellent evenings entertainment.

Cast

(in order of appearance)

Andy Lee.........................................................................................................Graeme Henderson

Mac...............................................................................................................................David Birch

Anytime Annie.....................................................................................................Rebecca Marks

Maggie Jones.....................................................................................................Shirley Jameson

Bert Barry............................................................................................................Graham Hoadly

Billy Lawlor....................................................................................................Ashley Nottingham

Peggy Sawyer..........................................................................................................Jessica Punch

Lorraine...............................................................................................................Danielle Corlass

Phyllis....................................................................................................................Sarah Thornton

Julian Marsh......................................................................................................Stephen McGann

Dorothy Brock........................................................................................................Julia J Nagle

Abner Dillon.......................................................................................................Bruce Montague

Pat Denning......................................................................................................Nicholas Charters

Ensemble:

Cameron Ball, Kate Cobb, Charlotte May Davies, Lias Dent, Aideen Donoghue, Victoria Gavin, Lauren Godbold, Ian Goss, Kit Gresty, Natalie Ingham, Anthony Kirwan, Sophie Le Brun, Daniel Smith, Hollie Sorelle, Alex Taylor, Kirsty Lee Turner, Danielle Wheeler

Venues and Dates ~ 2007

Southampton's Mayflower Theatre.........................29th October - 10th November

The Swan Theatre, High Wycombe.........................12th November - 17 November

Wimbledon New Theatre..................................19th November - 24th November

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