Thursday, 5 December 2013

White Christmas – The Musical

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Five stars
The stage adaptation of the Irving Berlin scored 1954 feelgood movie 
has been on the circuit for almost a decade now. Going by this latest 
outing for David Ives and  Paul Blake's version, it hasn't lost any of 
its sparkle. For anyone who's been stranded in a remote ski lodge, the 
story revolves around successful showbiz duo Bob Wallace and Phil 
Davis, who learnt their song and dance chops when in the army during 
World War Two.

Womanising Phil cons straight-laced Bob into boarding a train to wintry 
Vermont with singing sisters Betty and Judy Haynes. The hotel they're 
staying at turns out to be run – badly - by Bob and Phil's much-loved 
former General, who inspires his former charges to stage a benefit show 
in his barn, while love between the two double acts blossoms out of 
season.

It's  a heart-warmingly sentimental romance that must have had a 
significant resonance when first seen so soon after the war. Almost 
sixty years on, David Morgan's big, bright production goes beyond 
nostalgia to capture the full show-stopping razzamatazz in the flesh. 
As the couples, Stephen Houghton and Paul Robinson as Bob and Phil and 
Rachel Stanley and Jayde Westaby as Betty and Judy do Berlin's numbers 
more than justice in a breathless set of routines supported by a full 
ensemble choreographed by Randy Skinner and accompanied by a live band 
led by Andrew Corcoran.

Songs like Sisters, Happy Holiday and the title theme may be the main 
attraction here, but ultimately this is a show about community, and 
about how, if that community pulls together, it can conquer any 
adversity, whatever the weather.

The Herald, December 5th 2013

ends

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