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Thoroughly Modern Millie
2005 Tour
Reviewed by Clive Fuller

The Broadway and West End hit musical arrived in Birmingham to great applause and a standing ovation.

The 1960s Julie Andrews film is now a lavish and sparkling stage musical with great sets, colourful costumes and eye catching dance numbers. And, with songs by Jeanine Tesori, Dick Scanlan, Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn, Victor Herbert and Walter Donaldson, it has all the hallmarks of a winning production.

A cast of 25 and a good-sized orchestra of ten, under the direction of Chris Hatt, bring to life the original orchestrations by legendary late composer and arranger Ralph Burns.

Set in the Roaring Twenties speakeasy era, the most memorable song is the foot-tapping title number, performed confidently by Donna Steele, who repeats her West End starring role of Millie. Her experience shines and she handles the 1920s style dances and comedy in her stride. She is also physically the perfect Millie, with long legs, an expressive face and carries the whole thing off beautifully.

Playing Mrs Meers, Lesley Joseph creates a wonderfully entertaining and at times panto-style villainess. As the supposedly Chinese owner of a somewhat seedy looking hotel, her Chinese-English has the audience in stitches.

Of course, the sinister side of all this is that she is actually doping and kidnapping orphans to sell to the sex trade of Asia. But one of the comical showstoppers is when she and two Chinese boys sing 'Mammy with subtitles shown on a screen. You really must see it.

Grace Kennedy in the role of Muzzy Van Hossmere has two big numbers, the best being Only in New York in Act One. She demonstrated why she is one of the best vocalists around and I would have liked to see her more as she has real stage charisma.

Richard Reynard as Millie's friend Jimmy Smith (secretly a wealthy industrialist) has lots of traditional song and dance numbers, which win over both the audience and Millie. Andrew Kennedy, Millie's office boss, sings his heart out in a Gilbert and Sullivan style, which provides the audience with much amusement.

Robyn North was excellent as Dorothy Brown (secretly the sister of Jimmy) and Nicola Blackman was larger than life as the wasp nest hair-styled office supervisor Miss Flannery.

The tour continues until November and will no doubt delight audiences at all venues. A great evening out.

Copyright Clive Fuller 2005. For syndication rights, please email.

 

Information

Clive Fuller saw Thoroughly Modern Millie at Birmingham's Hippodrome on Tuesday 5 April 2005.

Thoroughly Modern Millie is currently touring the UK. For dates and venues, click here.

Related items

Thoroughly Modern Millie DVD

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Thoroughly Modern Millie CD
Original Broadway Cast
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Thoroughly Modern Millie CD
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Thoroughly Modern Millie: (Piano, Voice, Guitar)
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Cheap tickets for Thoroughly Modern Millie in Birmingham
From £10

Cheap tickets for Thoroughly Modern Millie at
The New Wimbledon Theatre, Wimbledon
From £18


 

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