6-10 September 2016
Reviewed by Linda Pickford
Last night I had the pleasure of going to see the irrepressible Tommy Steele in The Glenn Miller Story at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth. The story follows the short life of Alton Glenn Miller who was born in Iowa in 1904. He was an adequate trombone player who loved to write his own musical arrangements but he could never quite achieve the sound he craved. He toured with many orchestras but finally ended up in New York where he married his sweetheart Helen Burger. While playing the trombone and writing his own music he met and worked with many of the well-known musicians of the time including Benny Goodman and the Dorsey boys. He finally “discovered” the sound he wanted which involved the clarinet playing along with saxophones. His unique music set his band apart from the norm at the time.
Glenn Miller prospered but in 1942 America entered World War 11 and he joined the army to entertain the troops. He formed a 50 piece dance band to do so and played music for them from the states for two years. In 1944 he moved to Europe to be nearer his audience. Unfortunately, in December 1944 whilst on a flight from just outside London to meet his band in Paris he went missing. The single-engine aircraft was never seen again. In fact, I believe he is still officially missing in action.
Tommy Steele came on stage with his trademark cheeky smile and desire to please. Which he did in spades. You had to forget the disparity in age between him and his wife Helen, played beautifully by Abigail Jaye, and enjoy the wonderful music. The orchestra was superb and soon put us all “In The Mood”.
The well-known songs came thick and fast. I particularly enjoyed Moonlight Serenade sung by Abigail Jaye. The second act was opened with String of Pearls which was followed by an energetic Chattanooga Choo Choo.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole musical performance, as did the packed audience. Towards the end we were encouraged to sing along with the orchestra and cast. Tommy remarked that if we didn’t know the words we were in the wrong theatre!
Our lovely Theatre Royal was very busy last night but there was a feeling of enjoyment in the air. If you are able to get tickets, do so and go with an open mind. There are ample parking areas nearby and plenty of eating places if you want to make a night of it.
Tickets cost from £16 to £39.50 (booking fees may apply).
The Glenn Miller Story is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth until 10 September 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222