3-7 November 2015
Reviewed by Linda Curtain
I was delighted last evening to be able to attend the Theatre Royal Plymouth to review The Smallest Show on Earth. This is a new musical based on the 1957 comedy movie of the same name. I was not familiar with the movie, so was unsure what was in store but what a fantastic evening it was!
I easily parked at the Theatre Royal where there are two car parks within close vicinity of the theatre. Being situated on the main Royal Parade in Plymouth, the theatre is easy to access by foot, car or public transport. On arriving, I was warmly welcomed by the box office staff as I collected my tickets and programme. As I was early I was able to enjoy a coffee in the superb foyer cafe – a great chance to soak up the atmosphere of the theatre.
Soon after I located my seat, the orchestra began to play the musical overture of Irving Berlin songs and I settled down to watch the story unfold.
The storyline sees Matthew and Jean Spenser (played by Haydn Oakley and Laura Pitt-Pulford) inheriting a cinema from a deceased relative. Matthew – a screenplay writer – sees this as a great opportunity to further his career and with great excitement sets off with Jean to view their inheritance. Excitement is however short lived as the cinema turns out to be a rundown ‘flea-pit’ which comes complete with a mountain of debts. Also as part of the inheritance come three long term employees – the often tipsy projectionist Percy Quill (played by Brian Capron), the eccentric manageress Mrs Fazackalee (played by Lisa Goddard) and her son (played by Sam O’Rourke). The story basically sees the struggle to convert the rundown cinema into a thriving business with many obstacles along the way.
It was a lovely, light-hearted , enjoyable production which had you smiling along with the characters. Comedy was in abundance with the numerous one-liners causing much amusement to the audience.
The vocals were excellent throughout – especially those of Laura Pitt-Pulford and Haydn Oakley. They certainly did credit to the Irving Berlin songs. Well known musical numbers such as Blue Skies, Always and Let Yourself Go were sung with enthusiasm and passion by the company. The dance routines were also very slick and polished. The duet between Sam O’Rourke and Christina Bennington – to the song ‘Stepping Out with my Baby’ – showed many dance styles with superb footwork throughout.
A mention needs to be made of Matthew Crowe – who played Robin Carter the solicitor who dreams of stardom. A great actor who certainly acted his role to perfection.
The small cast of 14 certainly worked well together to produce a brilliant show with a great ‘feel good’ factor. Just the tonic for a cold November evening – you are sure to be humming the songs of Irving Berlin all the way home!
A well-deserved five star rating.
Tickets cost from £12.50 to £33.50 (booking fees may apply).
The Smallest Show on Earth is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth until 7 November 2015. 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