Stage Review – 42nd STREET at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, UK

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This show is absolutely charming. It is tuneful and colourful and there is plenty to enjoy. However, Broadway flair is somewhat drip-fed rather than is wildly unleashed in the House. Pitching and pacing is a bit slow to start but there are some special moments, especially in the more clipped and classier Act 2

Such love bubble musicals, like 42nd, where main characters prefer to either court their own egos than be appreciative of the business (as diva, Dorothy, demonstrates in this one). Or, are more fanciful with the idea of being a star rather than embracing the reality of it (as is the case with 42nd’s starlet Peggy Sawyer) … are successful reoccurring themes within this genre when it comes to their character portrayals, and across many decades of musical theatre writing

The cast is large, and the choreography brings in some traditional ‘top hat and tails’ style tap dancing steps and ballet moves and positioning. Girls sing in high pitched American tones synonymous to musical comedy holding back the sounds in their throats to a large degree. The male singing is hearty and rich. Speech is deliberately affected. Musical direction and the music playing is well rehearsed and professional and the sound technician has achieved excellent aural balance within the theatre’s walls. The design work is a real triumph, wardrobe and the changing sets really enhance scenes

Two stand out performances for me: Kirstie Smith as Peggy and Josh Smith as Andy Lee

The Coventry Musical Theatre Society (CMTS) is long established, and it is obvious, because of the quality of this production overall, that they have a supportive team behind them and many loyal and talented members. It is evident that there is some good work going on

Review by theatre critic, Debra Hall who attended press night of 42nd Street in an official capacity on 23 June 2016

Production Photography supplied by CMTS

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