BWW Reviews: SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, New Alexandra Theatre, February 4 2014
The last time I saw Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was during the 2006 UK Productions tour which starred Dave Willetts and Shona Lindsay; a production that is close to my heart as it is one of the shows that made me want to pursue a career in theatre.
This tour is produced by Paul Nicholas, George Critchley and Peter Frosdick alongside Patti Colombo's direction and they have created a fresh take on an old MGM classic. The set design by Anna Louizos is very effective, especially the use of sliding flats for scene transitions. The trucks are manually operated but whereas sometimes this can look clunky in this day and age of modern theatre, they are very slickly managed. The costumes made and supplied by the aforementioned UK Productions are period and a direct reference to the 1954 film. Nick Richings' lighting design lends itself well to the picture but relies heavily on darker states and followspots. Naturally the big musical numbers are bright but simple as there is so much going on choreographically. Karl Warden is responsible for the dance routines and they are a real treat for the eyes. The brothers and brides are all excellent triple threats and perform the choreography to an impressive standard.
Sam Attwater and Helena Blackman lead this company as Adam Pontipee and Millie. Unfortunately due to a throat infection, Attwater was off last night and local performer Alex Hammond went on as Adam and did a wonderful job. It is great to see understudies given the opportunity to shine and Hammond has been given the platform he deserves. Blackman is a mesmerising Millie with stunning vocals and a radiant charisma in the role. Both leads play an emotional maturity beyond their years.
Bruce Knight leads the vibrant orchestra and highlights include: 'Love Never Goes Away' with Adam, Millie and Gideon's beautiful three part harmony and the well-known 'Bless Your Beautiful Hide' sung to perfection by Hammond.
The show is very much an ensemble piece and the brothers, brides and suitors are all equally commended for their energy and attack. The 'Social Dance' stands out as one of the defining moments of the production with so many elements merging to create one incredible and memorable routine.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers plays at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham until Saturday 8th February.