Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London
Production – 3/5
Story – 1/5
Fidget Factor: 0.6
Romantic Comedy, A Horror of the Past… Encased in glitter and gold, 42nd Street uses sequins, beaming lights and shiny tap shoes to hypnotise its audience. Unfortunately for this production, its spell had little power over my senses. With recent events reported about sexual harassment and assault in the arts industry, it was shocking to see this show still glamourising a similar situation.
A dominant male figure, who holds authority, pushes himself on a young actress without her permission, yet this is projected as a love story. It didn’t matter how many glistening costumes or funky dance numbers 42nd Street presented, I remained distracted and outraged by an outdated concept of romance which gives men the grounds to do whatever they crave, regardless of what the woman wants.
Uncomfortable with this, it was only more upsetting that the predatory male figure, Julian Marsh, gets the biggest number of the evening to close the show. Originally written in the 1930’s, we are now moving forward into a very different society which leaves 42nd Street’s romantic comedy, a horror of the past.
Looking past the dull and infuriating storyline, the vast cast of 42nd Street perform toe tingling tap in perfect unison, exquisitely choreographed by Randy Skinner. All dressed in bright colours and wide smiles, the troop of dancers are a radiant spectacle. Tom Lister surprises the audience with his powerful voice and Sheena Easton effortlessly belts out several numbers. However, it is Clare Halse who rightly steals the show with her remarkable skills in tap dancing, singing and acting. A hat trick of talent, Halse delivers each dance number with phenomenal energy and elegant vocals.
Sizeable silver coins roll into dance routines and a grand set of steps slide over the stage to give the dancers another platform to perform. These impressive set design elements make this production feel epic.
Although the cast of 42nd Street put every foot right, without a fresh boost of direction around its core storyline, it will forever be an unpleasant reminder of what our industry can be like.
Click for Tix: @London Box Office
Time: 2 Hour 40 Minutes Inc. Interval
Running: Until ► 20 OCT 18