Yet Another Bunch of Theatre Memories – April 1983 to March 1984

It’s been a while since I checked out the old shows, so try these for size!

  1. Key for Two – Vaudeville Theatre, London, 20th April 1983

Key For TwoJohn Chapman and Dave Freeman’s farce had already been running for about eight months when I finally saw it. A fantastic cast headed by Moira Lister and Patrick Cargill, this was a typical 80s sex comedy, the like of which you rarely see today. I don’t have very strong memories of it, but I’m sure it was thoroughly entertaining!

  1. Fiddler on the Roof – Apollo Victoria Theatre, London, 19th July 1983

It was still traditional that I would go and see a summer show with the Dowager Mrs Chrisparkle, and she was very keen to see this production, as it starred the one and only original Tevye, Topol. And it would indeed be an incredibly privileged experience to see this star in the role for which he was synonymous. The production followed the original 1960s direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins. Very enjoyable, as you would expect. Thelma Ruby was an excellent Golde, and Maria Charles a memorable Yente.

  1. Underground – Prince of Wales Theatre, London, 27th July 1983

I don’t think this thriller by Michael Sloan, directed by Simon Williams, got great reviews, but I really enjoyed it – it definitely raised a respectful cap to Murder on the Orient Express, if you get my drift. Set on a tube train in London that slowly grinds to a halt and goes no further, it was also a chance to see some famous and well-regarded TV stars. The cast was headed by Raymond Burr – yes A Man called Ironside – and Peter Wyngarde – yes Jason King – as well as Alfred Marks, Gerald Flood, Elspeth March and Freewheelers’ Ronald Leigh-Hunt. I’m pretty sure this didn’t last long but I have very fond memories of it.

  1. Happy Family – Duke of York’s Theatre, London, 9th September 1983

Giles Cooper’s final play, originally produced in 1966, had a strong cast of four – Stephanie Beacham, Ian Ogilvy, Angela Thorne and James Laurenson; and was directed by Maria Aitken. Based on the contradictory motivations of a dysfunctional family, I can’t remember much about it, but I think it was pretty good. According to my ticket stubs, I saw this with three other people, but I haven’t a clue who they were!o

  1. May Days – Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Theatre, London, October 1983.

David Edgar’s political reflections from England 1945 to England and Russia 1981, this follows the allegedly typical swing from left-wing young people becoming right-wing older people; not sure how accurate that is today. One of Edgar’s grandly sweeping plays, I remember feeling that it was outstanding at the time but, on reflection, the memories of it have faded. John Shrapnel, Antony Sher, Alison Steadman, Lesley Sharp and the late Bob Peck made it an outstanding cast.

  1. An Evening for El Salvador – Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank, London, 4th December 1983

I went to see this fundraising revue for the El Salvador Solidarity Campaign with my friends Mike, Lin and Dave. An amazing line-up included favourite comedy group at the time The Joeys, Emma Thompson, Julie Christie, The Flying Pickets, and Peggy Seeger and Ewan McColl. Oh, for the days of being a lefty activist.

  1. Tchaikovsky Evening with the London Symphony Orchestra, 26th February 1984

Missing out my second trip to see the brilliant Poppy once it had transferred to the Adelphi, my next show was a classical night at the Barbican, with the London Symphony Orchestra under the impressive baton of Claudio Abbado, and the Band of the Irish Guards. This programme of Tchaikovsky music included extracts from Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Nutcracker, but concentrated on the Piano Concerto No 1 with soloist Anthony Goldstone, and culminated with the 1812 Overture. I remember it being thoroughly entertaining!

  1. Ballet Rambert – A Programme at Sadler’s Wells, London, 15th March 1984

I saw this performance by Ballet Rambert with my friends Mike and Lin. The programme consisted of Frederick Ashton’s Capriol Suite and Five Brahms Waltzes in the manner of Isadora Duncan, Christopher Bruce’s Concertino, and Robert North’s Entre dos Aguas. At the time Rambert was under the direction of Robert North, who also danced in the programme – as did current director Mark Baldwin, plus great names such as Catherine Becque, Lucy Bethune, Frances Carty and Ikky Maas. It was thrilling!

  1. Blondel – Aldwych Theatre, London, 23rd March 1984

Tim Rice and Stephen Oliver’s brilliant musical about the 12th century minstrel Blondel, and Richard the Lionheart’s European escapades. Paul Nicholas took the main role, and excellent he was too; Stephen Tate was a very kingly Richard I, and the now disgraced Chris Langham as the Assassin. I quickly bought the soundtrack album because it has some great comedy songs. Tim Rice has continued to fiddle with this show and it’s now called Lute! although it’s somewhat gone to ground. I really enjoyed it.

  1. Snoopy the Musical – Duchess Theatre, London, 29th March 1984

Larry Grossman and Hal Hackady’s delightful musical was great fun, totally charming, and pure escapism. In a very intimate and simple setting, it was one of those delicate theatre moments that was fun and didn’t pretend to be anything it wasn’t. A brilliant cast who would go on to do even better things included Mark Hadfield as Linus, Teddy Kempner as Snoopy and the late great Robert Locke as Charlie Brown.

Review – Fiddler on the Roof, Menier Chocolate Factory, 30th December 2018

Fiddler on the RoofOne of the most successful musicals of all time has made its way to the Menier for the Christmas/New Year slot, and is now sold out for the entirety of its run, right through to March 9th, so it’s got to be doing something right! The familiar old story of Fiddler on the Roof, with the cantankerous but lovable Reb Tevye, his devoted but not uncritical wife Golde, and their five daughters, three of which are of marryable age, has delighted millions since it first appeared on Broadway in 1964; and yes, gentle reader, I was lucky enough to see Topol in the part – although not until an early 1980s revival. Since then, I’ve seen the surprisingly superb Paul Michael Glaser in the role, and the unsurprisingly brilliant Omid Djalili. And now, this new production at the Menier, directed by Sir Trevor Nunn no less, stars Andy Nyman as the poor dairyman/philosopher/wannabe rich man.

andy nyman as tevyeHowever, unfortunately Mr Nyman, who I understand is excellent in this role, was not performing on the matinee of Sunday December 30th, and his understudy Robert Maskell took the part. Because any production of Fiddler relies heavily on this vital, central performance, I’m going to find it difficult to give a useful review of this show, as I sense the performance I saw was possibly quite different from what everyone else has seen.

fiddler on the roofI go to the theatre to have a good time so let’s dwell on the positives. Firstly, if you’ve never seen it before, Fiddler on the Roof is a brilliant show, you can take that as read. Even though all the best songs and scenes come in the first Act, so that the show feels slightly top-heavy, it’s still a strong and engrossing story with many larger-than-life characters. In the intimate environment of the Menier, it’s the music that really takes charge, with a fantastic performance from Paul Bogaev’s band, and absolutely stunning vocals and harmonies from the ensemble cast. It truly is a feast for the ear – if ears can indeed be feasted.

To LifeI always admire lively choreography, particularly when it’s crammed into such a small space as the Menier. Matt Cole’s expressive and inspiring routines work brilliantly intertwined with some of Jerome Robbins’ original choreography, and they were all danced with exquisite knife-edge accuracy. In particular, hats off to everyone involved in the To Life scene, with the great Cossack dancing and its enormous sense of happiness. For me, that was the most enjoyable scene in the show.

evening prayerHowever, much to the surprise of both of us, we were left strangely unmoved by this production. When we saw it in Chichester in 2017, I swear we both had to wipe away the occasional tear. However, in this production, not at all. Despite all the obvious opportunities for an emotional reaction, it just didn’t do it for us. The scene where Tzeitel and Motel’s wedding is disrupted by the first signs of violent oppression by the Russians, came across as simply bad behaviour from some ruffians rather than heart-rending destruction. Similarly, when the end comes, and the pogrom clears them all out of Anatevka, we just didn’t feel the distress or devastation. It felt more like a simple administrative relocation. Sorry, your Anatevka branch has now closed, your nearest branch is now 500 miles away. The only time I felt a true sense of emotion was in that wonderful little and easily overlooked song, Miracle of Miracles, when the ecstatic Motel – Joshua Gannon on magnificent form – can’t get over the fact that he’s finally going to get married to Tzeitel. Even the normally floodgate-opening Sunrise, Sunset only came across as a passive observation of others in love, rather than an overwhelming appreciation of how love carries on from generation to generation. Beautifully sung, but strangely cold.

Judy kuhn and andy rymanSo I’m left to wonder if this lack of emotion came from missing Mr Nyman. You expect – and need – your Tevye to be the most larger-than-life character of all; a big man, with a big heart, and a big voice, and a big load of cheek that he shares with everyone from God downwards. Tevye is a man whom, if you dare to cross him, should make you quake in your boots. That’s why it’s so funny when, having given his approval to Motel and Tzeitel to marry, he worries about what Golde will say – the big boss man, classically under the little woman’s thumb. However, Mr Maskell’s interpretation of Tevye stressed his more lovable side; his is a kindly, softly-spoken, Big Daddy-type of Tevye. When he sings of God’s vast eternal plan (in If I Were a Rich Man) it feels less like an earth-shattering, divisive dispensation of justice and more like a well-maintained Excel document. He was gently amusing, but nothing more, I’m afraid. It’s true, he does have beautiful vocal purity; but shouldn’t Tevye have more raucous power, dominating the proceedings right from the start? For me, his whole interpretation felt like it lacked something.

DaughtersElsewhere in the cast there are some enjoyable performances from Judy Kuhn as the much-tried Golde, Louise Gold as a particularly scatter-brained Yentl, Dermot Canavan as a rather well-mannered and reasonable Lazar Wolf, Harriet Bunton as a spirited Hodel and Molly Osbourne as an enthusiastic Tzeitel. However, despite these good performances and the superb ensemble, I did come away from this show feeling slightly flat and a little disappointed. Sometimes 5 star-hype, such as accompanies this production, only sets you up to being let down. Nevertheless, it’s fully sold out and I heard a rumour of a West End transfer, so what do I know?

perchik says helloP. S. Maybe some of my disappointment at the show could be explained by, once again, being surrounded by some audience members distinctly lacking in the manners department. Again, we encountered a refusal to move when trying to leave or return during the interval (in fact, the woman next to me, when she saw I wanted to pass, actually stood up and blocked my path, so I had to go the longer way across the stage). She spent a lot of the show explaining to her son what was happening in the story (clearly he wasn’t using his listening ears). Another extended family group decided it was a good idea to feed their children a picnic during the performance, with all the rustling, munching, squeaking and chomping that entailed. When they weren’t doing that they were lolling all over the seats or explaining the plot animatedly to their children whilst the actors were performing right in front of them. Sigh. Modern audiences are turning me into a Grumpy Old Man.

Production photos by Johan Persson

Review – Fiddler on the Roof, Festival Theatre, Chichester, 22nd July 2017

FIddler on the RoofSometimes you look at a theatre’s listings for the season ahead and a show stands out like a beacon of must-seeishness. I’d seen Fiddler on the Roof twice before; once with the late Dowager Mrs Chrisparkle in 1983 at the Apollo Victoria, starring the iconic Topol as Tevye, and once with Mrs Chrisparkle at the Royal and Derngate, Northampton, starring Paul Michael Glaser (and damn fine he was too.) Professor and Mrs Plum (who accompanied us on our Chichester weekend) advised us that they’d seen it on Broadway starring Harvey Fierstein. Gosh! I bet he was amazing.

Fiddler - everyoneI’m sure you know the background to this musical. It’s based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem about Tevye and his daughters published in 1894. The author was born in present-day Ukraine, and moved to New York City after witnessing the violence against Jews in southern Russia in 1905. The stories have inspired plays, TV programmes and movies over the years – but none so prominent as Fiddler on the Roof. Tevye is the village milkman, with his own philosophy of life that is heavily based on his deep but informal relationship with God, with whom he chats all the time. An upholder and adherent of Tradition, the musical shows you how Tevye copes having daughters who know their own mind and are not afraid to carve out their own way of life. Will he stick with the time-honoured traditions, or will he bend the rules to accommodate their wishes? And what chance does tradition have when it’s up against the outside world of the Czar’s Russia and the violent pogroms of the time?

TevyeSometimes at a show you get that feeling about ten minutes into it when you say to yourself “Wow, I am really loving this!” Gentle reader, I got that feeling. And once that happens you can just sit back and wallow in the pleasure of the whole thing. With all the traditional hallmarks of his Sheffield successes already chalked up, Daniel Evans’ first big show for Chichester – choreography by Alistair David, set design by Lez Brotherston, and a fantastic band courtesy of Tom Brady – is every bit as good as you could possibly dream it might be.

Sabbath PrayerThat’s not to say that in any way it shies away from the harshness of the reality of Tevye’s life and the village of Anatevka. If anything, this was the least saccharine portrayal of their day to day existence I’ve seen. The disruption to Tzeitel and Motel’s wedding celebration, for instance, stops you dead in your tracks with its mindless cruelty. When the villagers are informed that they will have to leave everything and go away, their desolation is palpable. But so much of the strength of the show comes from that balance of emotions between the sweet and the sour. The strongest moments (and songs) combine that hankering after something you just can’t have (If I were a Rich Man), and making the best of the here and now (To Life). Add to that the blind optimism of Matchmaker, Matchmaker and Miracle of Miracles plus the wistfulness of Do You Love Me and Sunrise, Sunset and you have one of the strongest scores in the history of musicals. Obvious, I know, but it occurred to me that, every time you hear Sunrise, Sunset, you’re just a little – significantly – older than the last time you heard it. My reaction to the stunning performance it receives in this production was to feel remarkably mortal. But when some aspect of a show pulls you up short and makes you question your own reality, you know theatre is doing its job properly.

Rabbinical questionsThe production is notable for some mind-boggling staging moments. The Fruma-Sarah dream sequence is extraordinary, with the spectral old biddy hovering large above the bed like a Jewish Sword of Damocles, the eerie presence of an army of demonic ghosts, and at one stage I thought the entire theatre was going to go up in flames! It’s a breathtakingly brilliant scene. Also stunning, but in a much more reflective way, was how the backstage opened up during the Sabbath Prayer so that you could see the other households in the village all following the same tradition; that was extremely effective and rather moving.

Matchmaker MatchmakerOf course, a huge part of the attraction for this particular production is the inspired casting of Omid Djalili as Tevye. He’s a very accomplished stand-up comic – we’ve loved him both times we’ve seen him – who involves uninhibited physicality as part of his humour. He was always going to be perfect in this role and boy does he not disappoint. From the moment you first see him, he’s got that glint in his eye that says we’ve gotta show to do and we’re all gonna have fun whilst never ever coming out of character or indeed turning Tevye into any kind of pantomime.

Mendel, Motel and the boysIn fact, for a larger-than-life comedian, it’s astounding how ordinary and normal he presents the character – which is great, because it’s so much easier for the audience to identify with him. He is a real man, with real problems but also a real sense of fun. As you would imagine, he absolutely made If I Were a Rich Man his own, and every time he comes on he lights up the stage. Make no mistake; when he disowns Chava for marrying the Christian Fyedka, his face is like thunder and his fury is undeniable – this is a man pushed to the limit and, much as it grieves him, he is determined to stand by his God rather than his daughter. This unfatherly reaction is uncomfortable for the audience. Apparently not every problem can be solved by a show tune. He is desperate to put the past behind them; and we can see him start to soften when he reminds Tzeitel to say “and God be with you” when she and Chava part; but he never gives in. Stubborn? Pious? Simply human? Tevye has complex emotions and beliefs which Mr Djalili explores and expresses magnificently.

GoldeThere’s also a tremendous performance by Tracy-Ann Oberman as Golde; funny, wry, spirited, bossy but essentially extremely kind-hearted, holding the household together whilst Tevye’s out working, or chewing the cud with God, or celebrating with Lazar Wolf. And of course she has a stunning voice that comes across so strongly, especially in the beautiful Sabbath Prayer sequence. Simbi Akande, Emma Kingston and Rose Shaloo make a great trio of daughters, presenting their father with challenge after challenge; they give us a fresh and funny Matchmaker, Matchmaker, and Emma Kingston’s Hodel sings a spine-tingling rendition of Far From the Home that I Love.

Motel and TzeitelI barely recognised the wonderful Liza Sadovy as Yente; as always, she gives the role a feisty and humorous characterisation. And I loved Jos Slovick’s Motel performing Miracle of Miracles – a couple of minutes of sheer reckless joy in what you sense is otherwise a fairly joyless life. Louis Maskell’s Perchik has just the right amount of confident and disdainful swagger to impress as the intellectual rebel without being a pain in the backside; and you just know that life is nevertheless going to teach him a thing or two as time goes on. And it was great to see Harry Francis again, as the rabbi’s son Mendel, brilliantly integrating outstandingly skilful dance moves into the big numbers.

Tevye takes them awayIt’s a huge cast, and everyone performs with absolute commitment and a sense of true enjoyment. It’s already been extended by a week, so the show now runs until 2nd September – but that’s surely not going to be the last we see of it? A credit to all involved. We all loved it.

Production photos by Johan Persson

Review – Fiddler on the Roof, Derngate, Northampton, 23rd April 2014

Fiddler on the Roof 1983I booked this on the strength of its being a fine old musical that I haven’t seen for many years – and Mrs Chrisparkle has only ever seen the film, on which, if truth be told, I don’t think she’s that keen. But it was one of the Dowager Mrs C’s favourites, and I have happy memories of learning to play all its top tunes on the piano when I was a teenager, at her behest. My piano playing style was always… direct, I think would be a complimentary term; my friends used to call me “Thumper” when it came to the keyboard. Many’s the evening where I would thump out melodies such as “Fiddler on the Roof” and “If I were a Rich Man” to my heart’s content. I actually remember in my very early days of theatregoing how all my parents’ friends and relatives would go overboard with excitement about seeing this show in London, starring Alfie Bass. He was their hot ticket. I never saw Alfie Bass; but I did accompany the Dowager to see the show at the Apollo Victoria in 1983 starring the legendary Topol. She absolutely loved it.

Fiddler on the Roof 2014All these recollections came back to me as we waited in our excellent seats at the Royal and Derngate for what has turned out to be the penultimate week of this national tour of Fiddler on the Roof starring Paul Michael Glaser (yes, Starsky) and directed by Craig Revel Horwood. Not inappropriately for a show that is shamelessly sentimental, it made me feel somewhat, as the poet once said, totes emosh. When I was that teenager banging out showbiz tunes on the Joanna, I remember wondering if I would ever get to be old enough for the, what I considered at the time, self-indulgently naff lyrics of “Sunrise, Sunset” actually to have any significance for me. Well, forty years on, I can tell that arrogant teenager that yes, when you’ve survived this far, it touches you more than you could imagine.

Paul Michael GlaserAnyway, I’m digressing before I’ve started. It was a packed house for a midweek evening performance of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s long-lasting and not remotely dated musical, which chalked up 3,242 performances on its original Broadway run (making it the longest running show at the time) and also a highly respectable 2,030 performances on its original West End run. Joseph Stein’s book is based on Sholem Aleichem’s stories of Tevye the Milkman, written and set in what is now Ukraine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Liz Singleton and Steven BorBroadly speaking, we’re talking the Russo-Jewish change agenda of 110 years ago. It’s set in a place (the small Russian village of Anatevka) and at a time (1905) when local traditions and practice were being uprooted on a political, national level, as shown in the heartless pogroms against the Jewish towns and villages; but also on a personal, familial level. Tevye’s firmly rooted in his “Tradition” values, where it’s the Papa who decides which of his children will marry the person the Papa chooses. However, Tevye’s three daughters have other ideas, and it’s the lengths to which Tevye manages to compromise, or not, with his strict religious and societal beliefs that provides the plot development of the show. As a result, you get to run the gamut of emotions all evening long, as we experience with Tevye and his family their friendships, love, hopes, fears, hatred, joy, sadness, and more. It’s all there. As the “disturbances” against the local Jewish community get progressively more violent, their options for survival get more limited. Hence the fiddler on the roof herself weaves in and out of the action, a symbol of irrepressible quirky spirit and continued precarious danger, played with impish charm by Jennifer Douglas. No wonder it’s a three hour show.

Neil Salvage and Michael PaverYou have to hand it to them, this is one terrific production. Diego Pitarch’s set is perfect for the job, with a central revolving pod that can serve as the outside of Tevye’s house and can also open up to reveal the internal living areas; and to the sides of the stage two static structures that can be Motel’s workshop or the entrance to the inn. It folds back completely to host the wonderful “To Life” scene at the inn. The costume designs accurately reflect the workaday nature of the locals’ lives and their level of poverty – hard up, but not without income and provisions. In what is becoming something of a trademark approach with a Craig Revel Horwood production, there isn’t a separate, remote band, but the on-stage actors all play orchestral instruments as well as performing their roles. This has a great unifying effect, as you appreciate the skill and creativity of all the people you can directly see on stage. Individual instruments also become additional voices for their associated characters, and it works a treat. It is so much more successful here than in Mr Horwood’s production of Chess where the instrument-playing cast members just got in the way of the action and ended up blocking all the best views. Musically, the show is a complete treat – the orchestrations are perfect and the performers create some really gutsy sounds from their instruments – for instance, Michael Paver’s trumpet playing and Susannah van den Berg’s clarinet really stood out.

Paul Michael Glaser and Jon TrenchardBut of course the show is all about Tevye. In fact it’s hard to name a musical with a more dominant central character, so any production of Fiddler on the Roof could succeed or fail on the strength of one performer. Well, there was no need to worry on that score. Paul Michael Glaser is an astoundingly good Tevye; thoughtful, reflective, gently self-deprecating, and thoroughly realistic. It would be easy to go over the top with caricature, funny accents, and silly physical comedic gimmicks in this show, but Mr Glaser sets the tone perfectly with his naturalistic, warm, and wry characterisation. He creates an instant rapport with the audience – who very nearly broke into a star applause welcome when he first appeared (but just held back) – even occasionally connecting with patrons in the front stalls when he’s seeking agreement or confirmation with his mind-musings. There’s no denying it, Topol was great, a marvellous entertainer and charismatic performer; but where he could occasionally drift into caricature and become slightly ridiculous (think of the body swagger in “If I Were a Rich Man”), Mr Glaser just acts like a genuinely kind, straightforward old man, cherishing his dreams, putting his family first. And what a voice he has! Rich, full, strong; a perfect match for those classics he has to sing. It’s not the voice of a 71 year old man. Starsky 71? No wonder I’m feeling old!

The three daughtersHe has a great connection too with Karen Mann as his wife Golde, enjoying the subtle “long-suffering” act that any husband does about his wife if he has a third person watching. However, her long-suffering responses are the more genuine, confirming, if you were in any doubt, that us men are generally much harder to put up with overall. Their “Do You Love Me?” duet was a sheer delight, her batting off his attempts to wallow in self-praise, his refusing to be thwarted. It was a very funny, but loving scene, beautifully performed.

Claire PetzalThere are plenty of other fantastic performances to match the central characters. Emily O’Keeffe’s Tzeitel is a splendidly responsible oldest daughter, ostensibly attached to her parents’ traditional values – but she will have you holding back the tears when she begs not to be married to Lazar. Liz Singleton is a self-assured and spirited Hodel, responding bravely to Perchik’s tradition-breaking advances and following him in his latter exile; and Claire Petzal is a charming and coquettish young Chava when first approached by Fyedka, but surprisingly and sadly resolute in her ability to withstand her father’s disapproval. All three sing stunningly – their “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” was exquisitely performed, a marvellous testimony to the optimism of youth.

Paul Michael Glaser and Emily O'KeeffeI really enjoyed Jon Trenchard’s performance as the nervous but gradually more confident Motel, withering visibly as he tries to tell Tevye that he wants to marry Tzeitel, proudly displaying his sewing machine more than his baby, and giving us a genuinely joyful rendition of “Miracle of Miracles”. Steven Bor makes for a suitably radical Perchik (the role played by Paul Michael Glaser in the film), mischievously incorporating Bolshevik views into his tutoring but proving himself to be as drippy as any lovesick boy imaginable when Hodel accepts his humorously business-like proposal.

Jennifer DouglasLiz Kitchen is a delightfully meddlesome and gossipy Yente the Matchmaker, always failing to mask quite how self-obsessed she is; Eamonn O’Dwyer makes an amusing if unexpectedly camp Innkeeper, as well as a polite but ruthless Police Constable, Neil Salvage a hilariously woolly Rabbi, Daniel Bolton a dignified Fyedka, and Susannah van den Berg a wonderfully scary resurrection of the late Fruma-Sarah, hovering over Tevye and Golde’s bed like a flying operatic bat.

Paul Michael Glaser and Karen MannThere’s only a few more days left to catch it at the Derngate, and then a week at Eastbourne before it wraps up for good – for a show this enjoyable, it would be a crime to miss it. Great to see it still commands a big audience, and it reminds us, through the medium of musical comedy, of a harrowing time in history that must not be forgotten.