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This stage adaptation of the popular Julie Andrews film comes courtesy of Willenhall Musical Theatre Company.  They may be an amateur dramatics society, but they clearly have a lot of talent within their ranks, and have put a lot of hard work into this production – and it paid off.

Briefly, the story revolves around Millie Dillmount (Abbie Rai), a young modern woman who comes to New York to find a job with a single boss who she can marry.  For Millie, marriage is not about love, but then she meets penniless Jimmy Smith (Will Phipps), and her plans go awry when despite her intentions, she starts to fall for him.  In addition there is a worrying trend of young women going missing in New York and being sold into white slavery.

This production is jam-packed with lovely songs, and they were performed wonderfully by a great cast.  Abbie Rai was adorable as Millie – and what a voice!  Will Phipps also sang wonderfully as Jimmy Smith.  Daniel Haddon was extremely funny as Millie’s boss Trevor Graydon – he has a couple of terrific songs – and Jenna Guest was perfectly cast as Millie’s friend Miss Dorothy.  The villain of the piece, Mrs Meers, was played with panache and humour by Kelly Ashman, and a special mention for Jenni Rullan as  Head Secretary at Millie’s workplace, Miss Flannery.

The staging was superb – the scenery was wonderfully effective and clever, representing Manhattan in the 1920s, and the scene changes were handled very efficiently.  The song and dance numbers were a joy to watch – I haven’t tap danced for years, but this show really made me want to start again.  I must mention the numbers where all the secretaries were wheeled on stage with matching orange wigs and bright pink tights.  Very cleverly choreographed, and brilliant to watch.

Also, as the play is set in the 1920s, it meant that there were many beautiful and glamorous outfits on show – I don’t know where the company found all those beautiful dresses, but I loved them.

One thing that surprised me was that the ending of the story was changed from the film version.  I have to admit that I personally preferred the film ending, but that is only a very very minor niggle, and didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

Overall, a terrific production with great performances and lots of laughs.

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Click here for my review of the 1967 film.

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