This is 1922, Thoroughly Modern Millie proudly boasts in its opening number and when entering the New Alexandra Theatre this week, I was hoping to be whisked away for 2 hours from the doom and gloom of the modern world, and be transported back to the dawn of Jazz... and for 2 hours I was well and truly enthralled.
Strictly Come Dancing's Joanne Clifton had the audience in the palm of her hand as Mille. Sweeping them away with her charm and bubbly personality. It should be noted that although she is known for professional dancing, there was not one song that sounded anything less than fantastic. She was the very definition of a leading lady.
Graham MacDuff was a fantastic foil to Clifton's Millie, whilst playing the big boss Trevor Graydon. His comedy timing was perfect, and provided the biggest laughs of the night. Meanwhile Jenny Fitzpatrick's stunning vocals as Muzzy Van Hossmere were a delight, and you certainly knew you were in for a treat when a microphone was placed infront of her.
The star name of this production Michelle Collins, star of stage and screen played 'Mrs Meers' in the production, an American criminal hiding in the disguise of a Chinese concierge, shipping young orphans off to White Slavery. Perhaps it was the subject matter, but Collin's performance fell just the wrong side of comfortable. Her characterisation was never wild enough to be wildly funny, but too placed to come across as scheming and mischievous.
Unfortunately, the part of this production that was the most disappointing was the set. It's small and compact design meant that the stage never felt particularly full, with a black curtain having been draped from halfway up as there was nothing else left to fill. Morgan Larges art deco designs looked stunningly created, but the harsh greys felt cold and industrialised, rather than the bright gold and warmth that would be associated with the jazz age.
The real star of this show however, is the choreography. I was in awe as every single member of this talented ensemble cast burst into performing Racky Plews dazzling dance numbers. It is worth going to see the show purely for the dance alone, you certainly wouldn't regret it when seeing the talent on offer!
Thoroughly Modern Millie is a fantastic glimpse into a golden age and the energy that this cast bring forward to the stage is worth getting a ticket. You could sense a clear bustle of excitement for this cast onstage, and if you want 2 hours to sit back and escape, this is the show for you.
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