Thoroughly Modern Millie
8th October 2013
The Lyric Theatre, Dinnington
Type of Production
Author: Les Smith
Had I not heard it from the horse’s mouth, as it were, I would never have believed this was Ashley Booker’s first attempt at directing, it was a brilliant show and I am sure one from which many directors with more years under their belt could learn from.
The show opened with just Millie on stage singing quite a down beat number but then quickly moved up a notch in tempo to bring the whole cast on for the title number which almost brought the house down.
The title role of Millie Dillmount was played perfectly by Isabel Canning, she danced and sang her way through the whole show and was a delight to watch, being able to take command of the whole stage when she was on. Isabel was ably supported by Laura Wilson as Miss Dorothy Brown; she was a delight as the young socialite who was trying to hide her true identity from others who may have wanted her purely for her wealth.
The love interest of Millie is Jimmy Smith, again a wealthy young man who is trying to hide his true identity, played to perfection by Nick Clayton, he was able to charm Millie, and I would suspect most of the other ladies on stage, with his light tenor voice which suited the songs down to the ground. I especially liked “I Turned the Corner” in Act 2 when both Millie and Jimmy were sitting on a window sill, this was a very moving song which was sung beautifully.
Millie is not an easy show to put on as it does have many scene changes which could cause continuity problems, however Ashley’s direction and clever lighting ideas meant all the action took place on one set with smaller sets on trucks brought on very smoothly by either the cast or the back stage crew ensuring the whole performance ran without a hitch. One piece of action I particularly liked was in Act 2 when Millie, Jimmy, Trevor Graydon played by John Green and Muzzy played by Karen Osman, were sitting around a table. During a very short number and dialogue they all changed seats with slick timing to give the effect of a long arduous meeting.
Louise Selden and Samantha Smedley played Mrs Meers and Miss Flannery respectively both being able to pull out all the comedic values of both parts.
Millie is in part a dancing show and in this production the cast were able to shine, in particular the opening of Act 2 in the big tap number “Forget about the Boy”, it was excellent.
Well done Dinnington OS and very well done Ashley.