"Inventive, crisp and enchanting production"
by remotegoat reviewer for remotegoat on 18/11/12

For some years now the Menier Chocolate Factory has been producing West-End-Rivalling-Musical-Productions, in many cases with West End transfers. With their third musical venture, Victor/Victoria, The Southwark Playhouse, are firmly hot on their heels.
Based on the 1982 Blake Edwards movie vehicle for wife, Julie Andrews, Victor/Victoria was adapted for the Broadway stage in 1995, again starring Andrews. Now 17 years on, it has its first major London production. Those familiar with the movie and the Broadway show will be surprised to see that this production is something of a 'greatest hits' of both along with some welcome additions. Scenes from the movie that were not incorporated on Broadway appear here and jokes that didn't work too well have been, if not perfected, at least improved. Whoever owns the rights to the show has been very generous, as is the whole production.
The plot hinges around the implausible premise of an impoverished English woman in Paris who disguises herself as a man and finds fame and fortune as a world class female impersonator. Although nobody is ever going to completely buy that Anna Francolini would get away with her ruse, I cannot imagine anybody really giving two hoots. Her performance is positively bubbling with wit, clarity and sensitivity to the extent that she has already won us over before her first song, by which point we're hooked and Julie Andrews is a distant memory. She is generously matched by the wonderful Richard Dempsey as Toddy; flipping between heart-breaking and hilarious, he comes close to stealing the show on a number of occasions.
The intimacy of Southwark's Vault space is perfect for the piece. Nuances that were absent in the Broadway production, lost to a large venue, are present here with Thom Southerland's inventive and crisp direction. The complexities of Victoria's 'happy ending' in sacrificing her new-found fame and independence to be with her man throws up the age old question of 'Can a woman really have it all?' in an interesting light.
The least convincing aspect of the night has to be Francolini's 'Victor' wig which, at times, makes her look like a gregarious Albert Nobbs. However, ultimately, neither Victor's locks nor the weaker parts of the show's book could hinder the warmth and vitality of this enchanting production.

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