Throughly Modern Millie
Flappers, ya all, were those dancers that made the Big Apple sparkle in the roaring 20s. They got their name from the buckled overshoes hat flapped along as they strolled along the boulevards.
They were girls who wanted to have fun.
Based on the Academy-Award winning film starring Julie Andrews, Thoroughly Modern Millie takes you back to the jazzy heights of 1922 in New York City.
This production, with a new score from Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlon, won six Tony Awards and it’s easy to see why it was such a hit on Broadway. It oozes upbeat ‘feel good’ family entertainment.
It celebrates a time when ‘moderns’, including a flapper called Millie Dillmount, were bobbing their hair, painting their lips red, raising their hem-lines and re-writing the rules of fashion and love.
An age when money talked years before the Wall Street Crash left many speechless. And a time when drink prohibition saw cigarrete smoking, cocktail drinking rebels galore.
In this two-hour 40 minute production there are some wonderful visual and comic references to the golden age of silent movies.
Michelle Collins of Coronation Street and Eastenders fame goes back to soap in a way – playing the dubious Chinese laundry manager Mrs Meers.
She has plenty of hiss-ability as the brains behind an unscrupulous evil Chinese takeway plot, involving kidnapping wannabee actresses.
Joanne Clifton, the sparkling star of Strictly Come Dancing – Winning in 2016 is perfectly cast as the delightfully dizzy, yet canny Millie.
She plays the girl from Kansas who wants to marry a rich guy, but life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
There are some stunning dance sequences created by director and choreographer Racky Plews, notably the clever typing pool numbers which all go swimmingly.
And there’s a great quaint rooftop ledge routine which wouldn’t look out of place in the film La La Land.
As well as dancing, Joanne can sing beautifully. A live, eight-piece band help the numbers come alive on a set that resembles a huge crown from the Statue of Liberty.
The art deco backdrop becomes an office, nightclub and hotel.
Music wise, the title song bounces along nicely while Sam Barrett’s Jimmy provides a lovely duet with Millie on I Turned The Corner.
There are some laugh out loud moments from Graham MacDuff’s dapper Mr Graydon. His acrobatic drunken antics and great comic timing a highlight.
There’s a cracking version of Only In New York by the characater Muzzy Van Hos played by Jenny Fitzpatrick while Katherine Glover is sunny and sublime as not- what-she seems Dorothy.
Two laundry workers Ching Ho (Damian Buhagiar) and Bun Foo (Andy Yau) talk and sing in Chinese happily translated on a screen via subtitles.
And there’s a smashing twist at the end.(4 / 5)
Slick and stylish