Tag Archives: Oliver Tompsett

“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” from the London Coliseum

Wildly successful in the US, this musical from Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts is a collection of songs and sketches about romance. There’s lots of dating: drinks, dinners and trips to the movies. The show progresses, if cursorily, to tackle marriage and love in later life. The songs are perky, the humour easy: the show is entertaining if unimpressive.

Off-Broadway origins are easy to spot, with a cast of four taking on a variety of roles. The structure is effective, making you wonder what’s coming next? I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is not boring, but it is predictable. Complaints from and about the opposite sex are tried and tested. Handled lightly enough, there’s little to offend… or surprise.

Efforts to make the show contemporary result in highlights: a number about texting explicit pictures and a mock advertisement with lawyers in bedrooms. But most of the show is mild. One character’s self-description – “awkward and whiney” – could go for nearly all. There’s little variety among those looking for love and, and although there are a couple of tender moments, the pacing is flat.

For this production, director Kirk Jameson uses all manner of camera work to spice up the action and is generally successful. Jameson has a good appreciation of the dry humour and light cynicism here and showcases it admirably. It is the cast that secures success – an exciting and experienced quartet who are a pleasure to watch.

Alice Fearn has two of the best numbers, including a song about being a bridesmaid that she does exceptionally well with. Oliver Tompsett gets to show his comedy skills playing a variety of unsatisfactory male roles. The chemistry between Brenda Edwards and Simon Lipkin is fantastic in more than one number: Sex and the Married Couple might make the whole show worthwhile.

Time and again the performers make good songs sound great and poor jokes passable. They take on a variety of characters and establish each with startling speed. And they sound great. With regards to the cast – I love them, they’re perfect – but maybe change the show?

Until 30 January 2021

www.londocoliseum.org

“Guys and Dolls” at the Phoenix Theatre

With so many shows on offer in London, it’s unusual to see the same production twice. But the latest hit from the Chichester Festival Theatre, a brilliant revival of Frank Loesser’s classic musical of gamblers, gangsters and their gals, has a new cast that makes revisiting as joyous as the first time around.

The production is also on a parallel UK tour, and Peter McKintosh’s clever neon sign design is sure to serve the show well on its travels. A fine ensemble does justice to the choreography from Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright, while director Gordon Greenberg gives the show a Broadway feel despite its modest size.

Gavin Spokes remains with the show to reprise his brilliant Nicely Nicely Johnson and get yet more encores for Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat. Joined by Jason Pennycooke as Benny Southstreet, this is a double act that gets the show up to speed double quick. Siubhan Harrison also remains in town, ever more comfortable in her role as Salvation Army Sergeant Miss Sarah. Playing her love interest Sky Masterson is Oliver Tompsett, who gives a fine performance showcasing a surprisingly old-fashioned voice – he’s a proper crooner, sure to acquire fans. If the chemistry and charisma you might hope for isn’t quite magical, the humour is spot on.

GUYS AND DOLLS, ,Music and lyrics - FRANK LOESSER., Book - JO SWERLING and ABE BURROWS, Director Gordan Greenberg, Choreographer - Carlos Acosta, Designer - Peter MaKintosh, Phoenix Theatre, London, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson - www.perssonphotography.com /
Richard Kind and Samantha Spiro

Greenberg’s focuses on the fun in Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows’ book. As a result, it is low-rent fixer Nathon Detroit and his long-suffering fiancée Adelaide who become our heroes. Chichester’s original casting coup (David Haig and Sophie Thompson) is, if anything, bettered. American comedian Richard Kind takes over as Detroit, adding a down-at-heel quality that makes this smalltime crook all the more appealing, while Samantha Spiro is wonderful as his eternal bride to be, with comedy skills second to none and a belting voice that makes the most of Adelaide’s Lament and brings a Dietrich spin to Take Back Your Mink.

Until 29 October 2016

www.guysanddollsthemusical.co.uk

Photos by Johan Persson