Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rollicking Farce: Lend Me a Tenor:The Musical at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue

When a failing operatic troupe in the American mid-West decides to stage a performance of Verdi's Otello they hire a real Italian tenor, hearthrob Tito Merelli.(Michael Matus)

The skirt-chasing star arrives late, and quarrels with his jealous wife,(Joanna Riding) who leaves him, prompting his apparent suicide. Self-doubting but talented Max,(Damien Humley) a member of the troupe, is persuaded to take his place. Problem solved ....or is it? In the best traditon of farce, things can only become more complicated.

Exasperated empresario Henry (Matthew Kelly) oversees the mayhem in the funniest musical farce I've seen for some time. The groundwork for the final mix-ups and hilarious set-pieces are carefully laid down, the singing is superb and the dancing hellhops are a sheer delight. The tour-de-force operatic performance by Cassidy Janson in the second act will leave you gasping.

The programme features an unusual piece (lacking a byline) about plays that change their names and one by Antonia Fraser linking a royal wedding and Betty Blue Eyes That's another superb musical currently running at the Aldwych.

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