DISCLOSURE – TICKETS TO SEE THE SHOW WERE GIFTED TO THE REVIEWER AND GUEST FOR THE PURPOSES OF WRITING THE REVIEW
Reviewed by Kelly Victoria
It was an absolute honour to attend the opening night of 42nd Street at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking last night. This wonderful theatre never ceases to be anything but the most perfect location for some of the best touring productions around. With its gorgeous piano bar, friendly staff and glorious atmosphere it’s always a treat to visit.
Upon taking our seats, the show started with some fabulous projections intersected with small scenes from the cast, which were a fabulous teaser for what you know will be a great show. The orchestra played the overture and it was clear from the start, that this show was going to be something special and didn’t disappoint.
Lots of theatre buffs know that there is normally an iconic moment at the start of the show, where the curtain lifts just a few inches and you are greeted with a row of just tap shoes of the dancers tapping, then the curtain slowly opens to reveal the stage. This was obviously not something that was viable with every stage on the tour and so instead, whilst the opening was different, it was still spectacular.
The show tells the tale of young Peggy Saywer (Nicole-Lily Baisden) who finds herself in New York with the dream of making it big on the stage.
By fate, she stumbles across Casting Director, Julian Marsh (Michael Praed) and is given the opportunity to join the cast of new show Pretty Lady.
Peggy is a natural on stage but is envied by leading lady Dorothy Brock (Samantha Womack) who seems to be threatened by her. However, finding herself being accused of causing Dorothy to fall on stage, breaking her ankle and now unable to perform, Peggy finds herself dismissed from the cast and the show is in jeopardy.
A turn of fate is about to come her way, as the cast persuade Julian that in fact, Peggy would make the perfect leading lady and persuade her to come back and resume the role, saving the show and fate of the entire cast. Pretty Lady is able to go ahead as planned and is an overwhelming hit.
This show is spectacular from start to finish. It’s packed with energy, the most phenomenal tap dancing that you could wish for and is everything you’d want from a musical.
Including well known classic numbers such as We’re In The Money, Lullaby of Broadway and of course, 42nd Street which are all performed brilliantly. There are huge numbers in the show that will take your breath away, with the visual and vocal delight that the entire cast brings to the stage.
Nicole-Lily Baisden, plays Peggy perfectly and captures the innocence and enthusiasm of someone trying to carve her path in the Big Apple for the first time. With vocals to die for, tap moves that dazzle and a smile that lights up the stage, Nicole-Lily was born for the role.
Samantha Womack, played her role as Dorothy Brock with glamour and class and has the most incredible vocals. Every time she came on stage, she oozed with the personality of an ageing actress, who is starting to lose her dazzle.
Sam Lips played a wonderful Billy Lawlor with charm, charisma and with the most wonderful vocals and tap moves to boot.
There were also celebrity appearances from Faye Tozer (Steps) who played Maggie Jones and Les Dennis as her sidekick Bert Barry. Faye’s vocals were wonderful and the pair played their role as a comedic duo well.
For me though, an outstanding mention has to go to the ensemble who really made the show spectacular for me. With tap moves like no other, huge amounts of energy and so much commitment to every single number, the show just wouldn’t have been the same without them. They made the show the big, bold, spectacular, dazzling success that it was and filled the stage with exuberance from the beginning to end.
The costumes designed by Robert Jones were some of the best that I’ve seen in a show. Not only were they perfect for the era, they were cohesive, spangly, exuberant and made you gasp in awe, at times. With custom La Duca’s galore, even the shoes were perfection!
For me 42nd Street is a timeless dazzling feast for the eyes that everyone deserves to see. I’d urge you to book tickets and not miss out on this wonderful production that will leave you with the most wonderful warm feeling and of course singing We’re In The Money all the way home…