THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE
|Date||15th June 2018|
|Society||Maghull Musical Theatre Company|
|Venue||Little Theatre Southport|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Charles Moss|
Author: James Briscoe
THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE presented by Maghull Musical Theatre Company at Southport Little Theatre on the Friday 15th June 2018 (Music is by Jeanie Tesori, lyrics by Dick Scanlan from a book by Richard Morris and Scanlan)
‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ began life as a British musical called ‘Chrysanthemum’ which opened in London in 1956. In 1967 it was made into a film of the same name and in 2002 it opened on Broadway where it ran for 903 performances and won six Tony Awards.
The storyline is based around a small-town girl, Millie Dillmount, who comes to New York City to marry for money instead of love – a thoroughly modern aim in 1922, when women were just entering the workforce. Millie soon begins to take delight in the flapper lifestyle, but problems arise when she checks into a hotel owned by the leader of a white slavery ring in China. A musical comedy with a rich pedigree!
This production was Directed by the vastly experienced Betty Hall; Musical Direction placed in the safe and capable hands of Charles Moss and Choreography efficiently handled by Gaynor Hale; with such a talented production team, this show was never going to be anything less than entertaining.
‘Millie’ isn’t the easiest show to stage, a big set and 21 scene changes to be navigated ... a massive congratulation to Nick Evans (Stage Manager) and his crew for the efficient manner in which they dealt with everything that was thrown at them and to Charles Moss and his orchestra for filling in those ‘spaces’ when ‘blackouts’ can slow a production down ... great team work!
This show demands that the leading lady ‘Millie’ be on top of her game... a challenging role that demands stamina and stage craft and Sarah Fletcher, in her first lead role, looked completely at ease and was well suited to the part and I thought she dealt with the role well. She was ably supported by the very cool ‘Jimmy Smith’, Millie’s love interest, played well by Alex McKillop,
Natalie Metcalfe gave an assured performance as the sinister’ Mrs Meers’, the owner of Hotel Priscilla. Her comic timing was ‘spot on’ and she handled the two accents really well. Natalie was ‘skilfully assisted’ by Graham Heap and Matt Christiansen who played ‘Bun Foo’ and ‘Ching Ho’ respectively. These two guys made a great comedy duo, worked well opposite Mrs Meers and their conversations and singing in ‘Mandarin’ with subtitles were an audience favourite.
Millie finds friendship with ‘Dorothy Brown’ a somewhat sophisticated character who is trying to find out how the other half live. Phoebe Hill brought a real characterisation and elegance to this part. ‘Mr Graydon’ played by Liam Rabbette stole the show for me. Liam played the part of Millie's boss at Sincere Trust with great assurance and presence. His characterisation, mannerism and comedy timing were impressive. Sandra Heap took the part of Graydon’s overbearing chief of staff ‘Miss Flannery’. She provided good support and was well suited to the part. Sheri Warbrick played the part of the ‘big hearted’ ‘fun loving’ ‘Muzzy Van Hossmere’ the famous Broadway party host and singer with style and confidence. This was Sheri’s first lead role as well; she looked and suited the part well and sang with great authority.
The principles were well supported by an ensemble that sang, danced and performed with enthusiasm and appeared to embrace the show whilst enjoying themselves immensely.
Congrats to you all.
The costumes were excellent and in keeping with the era. The lighting, provided by Andrea Clare and Sam Robinson-Davies was ideal as was the sound provided by Alistair Johnson. These three elements all enhanced the overall effect of the show.
Congratulations once again to everyone involved. Thank you so much for inviting us, for your hospitality throughout and for making us feel so welcome. Look forward to seeing you all again soon.