Having only being familiar with Lionel Bart’s most famous musical Oliver! it is refreshing to see the Finborough Theatre rediscovering this little known musical set in Liverpool and director Matthew Iliffe gives Maggie May it a lively production.
The London Fringe has been diligent in ploughing back catalogue after back catalogue for ‘forgotten’ musicals, and Maggie May has not been seen in London for 55 years.
Lionel Bart and Alun Owen’s musical Maggie May first opened in London 55 years ago, when it made its debut at the Adelphi Theatre in September 1964 – despite its success it hasn’t been seen since.
Lionel Bart’s love letter to Liverpool is an interesting choice of revival. Originally performed at the Adelphi in 1964 at the height of Beatlemania and the Merseybeat, Bart claims he came up with the concept before anyone had even heard of the Beatles.
Twang!! is a camp and fabulous journey through Sherwood Forest but despite the high energy and filthy innuendo, there is something missing from this much-anticipated revival.
Julian Woolford has scattered references to other famous musicals throughout his rewrite of Twang!! and West End Wendies in the audience will enjoy playing spot-the-show in the throwaway references. The show is worth a visit if only if only for a chance to revisit some of Bart’s gems.
The script is sprinkled with as many songs as anecdotes – who knew for example that Bart could not write music? He would hum out a tune on his kazoo, while his good friend Eric Roberts (who was to score most of the Carry On movies) transcribed the melodies to written manuscript.
New play about a young working-class woman’s experiences in 1960s London is small, but inspirational.
The Christmas decorations may be taken down – but at Leicester’s Curve the seasonal family show has another two weeks to run and judging by Friday’s packed, cheering audience it is continuing to bring much festive joy to the city.
Rather a busy theatre going week last week with The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist at Bussey Building in Peckham, as part of Townsend Productions two play residency + a post show inspirational session from the author Stephen Lowe; First Lady Suite by Michael John LaChuisa given a stylish new production by Matt Ryan, Lee Newby and […]
It is a rare treat to visit Newbury’s charmingly situated Watermill Theatre and Luke Sheppard’s Oliver! more than makes the journey worthwhile. On arrival and in one of the most innovative mise-en-scenes, as the audience mingle on the lawn outside sipping Pimms and G&Ts, the cast’s ragamuffin kids dart about, not picking pockets but offering to shine shoes for a sixpence. It’s a charming touch.
✭✭✭✩✩ Cheeky swagger:
One of the most charming things about an Encore production is that you can always consider yourself part of the family. And their take on Lionel Bart’s Oliver! at the Brunton is as cheeky and cheerful as you would expect, while still managing to deliver a menacing undertone.
I confess it, I have previous with this show: in the mid-eighties I was in a fringe production which was selling so badly that one wet Wednesday we’d just decided to give the seven people in the audience their money back when we got a phone call to say that Lionel Bart was on his […]
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