Anything Goes: Cole Porter

Anything Goes

★★★★

(New Wimbledon Theatre, January-February 2015)

Reno (Debbie Kurup) loves Billy (Matt Rawle). They’re old friends and he indulges her in a bantering kind of way but doesn’t take her seriously; because he loves Hope Harcourt (Zoë Rainey), the pretty débutante. But Hope is engaged to be married to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Stephen Matthews) and the happy couple are due to weigh anchor any moment on the SS American, which will carry them off to London for their glittering wedding at St Paul’s. Reno and her team of nightclub dancers are making the same voyage, bound for some London engagements; and it just so happens that Billy’s boss, Elisha Whitney, is also travelling on board. Realising that his beloved Hope will soon be out of his reach forever, Billy decides there’s only one thing for it: to pursue her.

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Les Misérables

Les Miserables

★★★½

(directed by Tom Hooper, 2012)

I first encountered Les Misérables in choir lessons at school, when we learned some of the songs, and I read the book when I was about fourteen, after my father, knowing how to handle me, said something like, ‘You’ll never get through that’. Now I can’t remember anything of the novel except (spoiler!) the scene of Enjolras’s death, which affected me deeply; but the musical has a secure place in my heart. I’ve seen it several times and I have the soundtrack on CD, so it’s fair to say that I know the score rather well. I was curious to see how it would translate to film (it’s important to stress that this is a film of the musical, not the original book), and overall it’s a success, even if it’s not quite as brilliant as all the hyperbolic reviews had led me to believe.

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Top Hat

Top Hat

(Aldwych Theatre, London, currently booking until September 2013)

It’s 1935 or thereabouts and Jerry Travers (Tom Chambers), the most popular dancer on Broadway, comes to London to star in a show arranged by the impresario Horace Hardwick (Martin Ball). On his first night in town, Jerry’s exuberant tap-dancing in Horace’s hotel room disturbs the young lady staying on the floor below: the glamorous Dale Tremont (Charlotte Gooch), with whom Jerry is immediately smitten. A practised ladykiller, he romances her in the park and fills her room with flowers; but forgets to ever actually introduce himself.

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Singin’ in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain

★★★★½

(Palace Theatre, London, currently booking until September 2013)

It’s official. Happiness is Adam Cooper in a trilby.

The place is Hollywood, the year 1927, and Don Lockwood (Adam Cooper) and Lina Lamont (Katherine Kingsley) are the golden couple of the silver screen. Their on-screen romance has captured the hearts of their public and provided their studio, Monumental Pictures, with a series of smash-hit silent movies. But times are changing. Warner Bros have just released The Jazz Singer and suddenly the pictures have exploded into sound.

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