The actors playing the teens are very fine, but top of the class are John McCrea as a spectacularly well-sung and well-observed Jamie, and Josie Walker as his mum with the only really heartfelt song in the show, ‘He’s My Boy’.
Flowers For Mrs Harris marks Daniel Evans’ farewell production at Sheffield’s Crucible and he bows out premiering a musical that is elegant, charming and beautifully crafted.
In 1927, Jerome Kern shifted the shape of musical theatre from twee operetta to a tighter fusion of music with drama. He also designed Show Boat as a slap in the face to complacent audiences with its startling opening line ‘Niggers all work on the Mississippi’. In the Daniel Evans’ production which has arrived with bells and whistles and five-star accolades from Sheffield we have a version which is both polished and sanitized.
2015 you sly old fox, you’ve saved the best for last.
The Confederate flag flutters over the stage as the opening bars of Show Boat play out. An ugly image, the flag defining so much of America’s troubled history and setting a dark uncompromising tone that defines Daniel Evan’s production.