‘A fabulous feel-good delight’: WHITE CHRISTMAS – Leicester ★★★★

In Musicals, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Curve Leicester – until 13 January 2019

There are few shows as comforting and traditional at this time of year as Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. It’s a corny old yarn for sure that sees Dan Burton and Danny Mac playing Phil Davis and Bob Wallace and two ex-trouper/troopers who team up with the Haynes Sisters (Emma Williams and Monique Young) to put on a show in Vermont, and rescue the business of their former and much-loved commanding officer General Waverly who since the end of World War 2, has been running an upstate Inn and making horrendous losses.

Strip away the seasonal feel, and the story crumbles under close scrutiny. But with Berlin’s classic numbers and in the gifted creative hands of director Nikolai Foster and his choreographer Stephen Mear, the evening becomes a fabulous feel-good delight.

Foster has established form in coaxing excellence from Mac and Williams, but it is Mear who offers the lucky citizens of Leicester their biggest Xmas treat by taking Burton and Young away from his usual seasonal offering at Paris’ Theatre du Châtelet, to their native side of the English Channel and pairing them at the Curve. These two actors have seen recent years allow them to develop an intuitive connection in their dance work – they surely have to be the finest movers in the nation’s musical theatre corps, proving this again with their phenomenal footwork in the show’s second half opener ‘I Love A Piano’.

Mear, of course, delivers excellence from across his ensemble, with strong performances from Garry Robson as Waverly and from Wendy Mae Brown as Martha Watson, the General’s much put-upon, (but ultimate) sweetheart and, on press night, the cutest turn from Georgia Stewart as his young granddaughter Susan.

A seasonally busy Jason Carr has done beautiful work arranging the Songbook classics, while the seven piece band, under Neil Macdonald’s direction, take the packed Curve houses all the way back to the 1950s – heck, the snowblowers even deliver a venue-filling blizzard as the audience delight in a singalong of the title number.
White Christmas maybe as cheesy as a fine old stilton, but it’s still first-class festive fayre!

Runs until 13th January 2019Photo credit: Catherine Ashmore

Jonathan Baz on Twitter
Jonathan Baz
Theatre critic Jonathan Baz is London-based but with a coverage that extends far beyond the capital to include regional theatre as well as occasional forays into Europe and the USA. He enjoys reviewing new writing as much as seeing fresh interpretations of well-known plays and musicals. Jonathan also sits on the judging panel of London's Off West End Awards ("the Offies") and has published numerous interviews and features with leading figures in the film and theatre world. Away from the arts, Jonathan is a practising Chartered Accountant with a number of clients in the entertainment industries. He blogs at www.jonathanbaz.com and tweets at @MrJonathanBaz.
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Jonathan Baz on Twitter
Jonathan Baz
Theatre critic Jonathan Baz is London-based but with a coverage that extends far beyond the capital to include regional theatre as well as occasional forays into Europe and the USA. He enjoys reviewing new writing as much as seeing fresh interpretations of well-known plays and musicals. Jonathan also sits on the judging panel of London's Off West End Awards ("the Offies") and has published numerous interviews and features with leading figures in the film and theatre world. Away from the arts, Jonathan is a practising Chartered Accountant with a number of clients in the entertainment industries. He blogs at www.jonathanbaz.com and tweets at @MrJonathanBaz.

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