It’s rare that I leave a theatre to a chorus of moans and groans when I’ve been reviewing a musical. More often a toe-tapping audience high on happiness will depart with a song on their lips. Sadly that wasn’t the case last night at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre.
It seems something must have gone wrong with the marketing of the musical Teddy as the predominantly over-60s audience were expecting something along the lines of Dreamboats and Petticoats – while what they got was a gritty piece of theatre with some great original music.
And, as the post-war generation are a feisty bunch, this audience made certain it was known that in their view they deserved more. More glitz and glamour, more of the promised 1950s hits and quite a lot less of the expletives.
So, let’s be clear, if what you want to see is dolled-up dancers jiving to all your old favourites from the roll ‘n’ roll era then this is not the musical for you.
If, however, you want see a pair of spunky Bonnie and Clyde characters battling against austerity in a post-Blitz London to the new music of a gutsy four-piece band then get yourself some tickets as you will have a great evening out.
The pace was fast, the writing interesting, the actors and musicians were energising and the choreography mesmerising.
Set on a Saturday night at London’s Elephant and Castle the musical tells the story of Teddy and Josie who are about to hit the streets of London for a good time. The love-struck couple are on a mission to see their hero Johnny Valentine play at a secret gig.
So what if it’s pouring down, they’re totally skint, and someone wants them dead? A little trouble never stopped a Ted from having a good time. . . until of course it does.
Molly Chesworth and George Parker as Josie and Teddy put in flawless performances (also playing all the minor characters – parents, pals, police) as they take us through what is supposed to have been a typical night in their neighbourhood.
The band led by Dylan Wood as Johnny Valentine and consisting of Andrew Gallo as Sammy ‘The Sticks’ Smith, Freya Parks as the defiant Jenny O’Malley and the musical director Harrison White as Buster Watson were excellent.
If the show could have stretched to an ensemble to join the dance floor at the club to add a bit more oomph, given us one rendition of Rock Around the Clock or Be-Bop-A-Lula and cut back on the swearing I reckon everyone would have left happy.
The show was presented by Sarah Loader for Snapdragon Productions in association with The Watermill Theatre. It was directed by Eleanor Rhode, the choreographer was Tom Jackson Greaves and the set designer was Max Dorey.
Teddy can be seen at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield until Saturday March 10 at 7.30pm with matinees at 2pm on Wednesday and 3pm on Saturday. For tickets go to http://www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk