"A toe tapping theatrical treat"
by Jill Lawrie for remotegoat on 11/07/18

Chichester’s first major musical this season sees the 2017 “Fiddler on the Roof” production team reunited and Matt Lucas and Caroline Quentin making their Chichester debuts. Composer Noel Gay’s “Me and My Girl” is one of only two British musicals from the 1930’s. His music hall style guarantees this musical is packed full of simple catchy tunes and strong melodies. For this production Musical Director Gareth Valentine has re-worked the score and given it a ‘new lick of paint’. Coupled with Lez Brotherston’s spectacular designs, fabulous choreography from Alistair David, dazzling costumes and Daniel Evans’ direction this is a high octane visual treat.

Set in the late 1930’s Parchester, the family solicitor, has managed to locate the long-lost heir to the Hareford estate but to the family’s horror he is a cockney barrow boy named Bill Snibson. It is stipulated that the heir must be a ‘proper gentleman’ and the Duchess is therefore determined to transform him, but how will his sweetheart Sally adjust to his new life?

Sadly when it came to press night Matt Lucas (Bill Snibson) was unable to perform due to a throat infection and the mantle was taken up by stand-in Ryan Pidgen who gallantly carried it off with a magnificent performance and only hours to prepare! He sang and danced his way throughout the evening building up to a thoroughly well deserved standing ovation. Caroline Quentin too excelled as Maria Duchess of Dene and will be remembered for her fine vocals, toe tapping and great one liners. Fine support came from Alex Young playing Bill’s gal Sally and Clive Rowe who had the role of lovesick Sir John Tremayne. Lady Jacqueline Carstone was amusingly played by Siubhan Harrison as she tried desperately to ensnare Snibson by seducing him in the bath tub and Jennie Dale was highly entertaining in her role as Parchester showing fine tap dancing skills and her constant attempts to break into song.
This is a handsome revival of a much-loved musical comedy that included knock out show stoppers for “The Lambeth Walk” with the aristocrats and pearly kings and queens and the highly charged rendition of “The Sun Has Got His Hat On”.

With the feel-good factor from our amazing weather and a vibrant energised production this perfectly depicts a summer festival at its best.

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