Reviewed by Cate Norris
What can I say about Thoroughly Modern Millie? In a nutshell it’s a bit of a bore with a completely predictable storyline that takes far too long to tell.
Having moved to New York from Kansas, Millie, played by Hayley Tamaddon, is a modern 1920s girl with bobbed hair, short hemlines and rouge lips. She is on a mission to find a rich man to work for and make him her husband. But true love stands in her way, in the form of her friend Jimmy (Michael Colbourne) and first acquaintance on her arrival to New York. The trouble is we all know this, but the cast seemingly don’t – cue the biggest ‘song and dance’ of all time… literally!
But then nothing dragged more than the subplot, about hotel owner Mrs Meers (Lucas Rush), who was really a man in drag or disguise, and putting on a Chinese accent (I think). Anyway Mrs Meers, only rented rooms out to females – preferably those that were ‘awl awone in wa world’ so he or she could sell them on as white slaves which I think was 1920s trafficking. So he gave them a room and then a poisoned apple. I tell you, it brought a whole new meaning to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for me, but for the most part I was irritated by trying to work out what Mrs Meers was saying, as well as reading the translation prompts of what his (or her) real Chinese kidnapping assistants were saying.
Right into the second act, we finally got some decent entertainment thanks to a heartfelt rendition of ‘Gimme, Gimme’ by Tamaddon as well as a much needed comedic scene, courtesy of Millie’s boss Mr Trevor Graydon (Richard Meek). With possibly the best drunk scene ever seen, Meek had the audience in stitches. It completely lightened the mood and saved me from slumber. It’s just a shame it came so late in the show. There were other elements that were funny throughout, such as the duets when characters first met and the dancing was spectacular too. Costumes were absolutely stunning with more glitz and glamour than you could shake a stick at. It’s funny then, that despite this, the combined entertainment factor wasn’t maintained and overall it was mainly flat with some sporadic peaks.
Several cast members made reference to us being a difficult crowd but I’m not sure that was the case.
Tickets cost from £13.50 to £47 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Thoroughly Modern Millie is at the Regent Theatre in Stoke from 22-26 May 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/regent-theatre or call the box office on 0844 871 7649.
Regent Theatre, Piccadilly, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 1AP | 0844 871 7649