BWW Review: ON THE TOWN, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
Before jetting off to Broadway to direct Jack Thorne's King Kong musical, Olivier winner Drew McOnie has returned to the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre to revive On The Town. Set over twenty-four hours in 1944, the musical follows three American sailors on shore leave in New York. Each has a whirlwind romance, before heading back to sea.
Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green's musical is certainly charming, and works well at the beautiful Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. Although the story has its dips - and is lacklustre in places - ultimately On The Town is a bit of harmless fun.
The ensemble cast are stellar; McOnie's choreography is a treat for the eyes and without doubt the highlight of the show. Fresh from finishing as runner-up on Strictly Come Dancing, it's nice to see Danny Mac return to his theatrical roots taking on the role of Gabey. Mac is charismatic on stage, and is in fine voice. His wing men, Samuel Edwards as Ozzie and Jacob Maynard as Chip, also shine. It's particularly impressive to see Maynard's slick performance as he took over the role during previews when Fred Haig fractured his foot.
Lizzy Connolly, recently seen in The Wild Party and Once in a Lifetime, gives a star turn as Hildy, who falls for Chip. As always, Connolly's comic timing is spot on - the smallest details of her performance had the audience in stitches. Elsewhere Siena Kelly and Miriam-Teak Lee both make striking professional debuts as Ivy and Claire - in fact I found it hard to believe On The Town marked their first professional roles. Both had huge and alluring presence and look set for exciting careers.
Miriam-Teak Lee's design elegantly shows off the era, whilst as the sun sets Howard Hudson's beautiful lighting design works wonders. The collaboration between McOnie and the creative team is evident; the production has a strong and consistent vision.
It's always a pleasure to visit the Open Air Theatre. On The Town works superbly in the unique outdoor setting. Whilst On The Town isn't a lifechanging or revolutionary show, with an excellent cast and creative team this production is fantastic old-school fun and well worth a look.
Photo Credit: Jane Hobson.