Musicals

 

 

 

 

 

 

A review by Vanessa Bunnfor EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

 

Almost-normal Ltd presents

 

Jubilee

Book by Moss Hart

Music & Lyrics by Cole Porter

Orchestrated by Larry Moore

Directed by Julia Hillman

Musical Direction by Patrick Rufey

Choreography by James Houlbrooke

 

Tabard Theatre

 

13 June - 21 July 2012

 

 

Jubilee is an alternative look at royalty and depicts the brief escape of four stifled royals hungry for a slice of the real world in the run up to the Silver Jubilee of King George V (Robert Paul). The Queen (Amy Cooke-Hodgson) absconds with chiselled actor/swimmer Charles Rausmiller (Herman Gambhir). The Prince (Charlie Guest) has a fling with sultry burlesque performer Karen O’Kane (Emma Williamson). The Princess (Alana Asher) sets her sights on hilariously brooding and debonair writer Eric Dare (Jonathan Leinmuller). Finally, the King finds himself entangled with the mindlessly galling socialite Eva Standing (Kathleen Culler). The action prances along at a pleasant pace thanks to the four interwoven, action packed adventures.

A large ensemble join the four core couples bringing vitality to the energetic tap dance routines, choreographed by James Houlbrooke and stretching the stage space at The Tabard to its full capacity. 1930’s celebrity culture is found to be just as vacant and full of spectacle as it is today, with Eva Standing’s fickle nature and ostentatious attitude lending a somewhat tiresome air to proceedings at times. Robert Paul’s wonderfully demure and simple King George is the perfect antidote to her tireless squealing, amusingly unassuming and gracious as he is and amply amused once there is a piece of string to hand.

The Queen, played by Amy Cooke-Hodgson, is more of a blast than a breath of fresh air. Her droll brand of knowing wit brings a maturity and professionalism to a production which is at times distinctly juvenile. The cast in general is vocally strong; Emma Williamson’s Karen O’Kane manages a superb vocal output while juggling massive feather fans and conducting an energetic burlesque dance routine under The Prince’s eager gaze. Unfortunately, her singing is slightly overpowered by the accompanying music. One of the musical and comic highlights is surely Eric Dare’s rendition of “Kling-Kling bird on the Divi-Divi tree” for which he is accompanied by the ensemble as a posse of infatuated youths who chime the chorus with delight.

The set is jam-packed for the most part with furniture, suitcases and people but there are moments of real innovation as when The Queen visits the cinema and seats herself amidst the audience. The much-anticipated film is played out in shadows behind an illuminated white sheet held up by a pair from the ensemble. Costumes are well honed to suit the more caricature cast members; Eva Standing is all glitter and beads, and Charles Rausmiller is perpetually scantily clad thrusting his way around the stage while maintaining an aura of naivety.

Jubilee is a light-hearted caper through the somewhat commonplace fantasies of a constricted Royal family in the 1930’s. Its particular resonance right now, just following the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, will undoubtedly generate more traffic than it might otherwise receive, which is itself a publicity trick worthy of Eva Standing.

 

 
 
Enquiries: 0208 995 6035
http://www.tabardtheatre.co.uk/
Tickets: £18/£16
Tabard Theatre
 2 Bath Road, London W4 1LW
 
 

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