Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Blonde Bombshells of1943, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Blonde Bombshells of 1943 by Alan Plater
Director: Mark Babych
Musical Arranger: Howard Gray

Reviewer: John Roberts

'T'aint what cha do, it's the way that you do it,' and this production certainly does it in style!

Based on Alan Plater's television film The Last of the Blonde Bombshells, the play tells the story of Betty and her all female band The Blonde Bombshells.

After playing a gig at the American Airbase in Catterick, half of their band seemed to have disappeared with dreams of Hollywood and rich Texas oil tycoons. The Bombshells big break is fast approaching and with half a band missing they hold auditions to find another four members to fill their cohort, and end up with a 17 year old school girl, a middle class army tart and a banjo playing nun. It's only when Patrick walks through the door, on the run from conscription and looking to drum does he agree to don the dress and help the Bombshells go live on the wireless and make the band complete.

Having already had
several tours around the world, this show is revived at just the right time, showing that even in the recession and when times are hard we can still have a good time and enjoy ourselves!

Mark Babych directs this production with lots of energy and pace and the simple but atmospheric set by Libby Watson really helps set the scene and period. The script is full of northern quips and brusk remarks make this show fire with wit and humour and looking at the cast on stage they seem to love playing those lines as much as the audience hearing them.

This multi-talented cast of actor musicians really make the most of their parts bringing great energy and fantastic harmonies throughout not to mention sublime comic timing.

Laura Stevely makes a suitably naive school girl (Liz) and has a silky smooth singing voice, her rendition of Ribbon Bow really captivated the audience. Matthew Ganley as Patrick really lays on the charm and his cheeky persona shines throughout this energetic and suave performance. Sarah Whittuck is superb as Banjo toting nun Lilly. Rosie Jenkins brings a different dynamic to proceedings with her upper class army officer Miranda. Barbara Hockaday and Susie Emmett as Grace and Vera bring sharp stabs of dry northern humour to their parts which this reviewer absolutely loved. Jane Miligan as May and Charlotte Armer also give fine performances as the matriarchs of the band.

The real star of this show for this reviewer is the music, which really stands the test of time and can really make anyone leave the theatre with a huge smile on your face and humming the songs for days to come, and if this show comes to a theatre near you soon then don't delay don your glad rags and have a great night at the theatre courtesy of The Blonde Bombshells of 1943.

Blonde Bombshells runs at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre until Saturday 28th Feb 2009
frontpage hit counter