BWW Reviews: SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, New Wimbledon Theatre, October 8 2013
Poor Milly! She marries okay lumberjack Adam to get away from the one-horse town yokels with their beer-swillin' and butt-squeezin', and ends up in a big ol' homestead in The Rockies with Adam (swell!)... and his six brothers (not so swell).
But it's not "Poor Milly!" for long - she's soon whupping those boys into shape teaching them manners at the table and manners when goin' courtin'. But all this well-mannered behaviour doesn't sit well with the Lord of the Manor himself and Adam is soon sulking, the alpha male usurped by the alpha female.
But Miss Milly is only one bride and there are seven brothers, so when the lads read of the Romans' abduction of the Sabine Women - bear with me, this is musical theatre after all - they saddle up and mount a raid to carry off their sweethearts from town - and invoke the wrath of Milly. But they're good lads (very good lads indeed, all winter long) and all's well by the time spring breaks through.
Ludicrous, isn't it? But it's wonderful entertainment, laced with fantastic songs with oh so witty lyrics and lots and lots of dancing. Wow - is there a lot of dancing! If Sam Attwater (Adam) and Helena Blackman (Milly) are the headliners who hold the story together, most of the fun comes from the brothers and the brides, a set of youngsters who give it their absolute all. Sam Stones (a punchy Frank) sings beautifully and Jack Greaves is winningly charming as the baby brother Gideon shyly seducing his bride, an irresistibly smiley Alice (Georgina Parkinson).
If director and choreographer Patti Colombo will get plenty of plaudits for her work, the orchestra, under Bruce Knight, deserve equal praise, belting out the music without ever drowning the singers - and what a difference it makes to hear it all live. The only bum note on a fine evening's entertainment was the absence of Spring, Spring, Spring ("...And if for the stork you pine, consider the porcupine... in the Spring, Spring, Spring."), but it's in the programme, so let's hope it's restored soon.
It's a cliche, I know, but people really were singing the songs to themselves as they left the theatre - it does that to you!