Thoroughly Modern Millie hit The Churchill Theatre stage this week with a talented cast including Strictly Come Dancing star, Joanne Clifton playing the star of the show, Millie Dilmount. With an energetic buzz throughout and a heartwarming storyline, it delighted audience members but at times lacked the oomph this show needed.
Throughly Modern Millie tells the story of Mille, a country girl that makes her way to New York in pursuit of a husband. Whilst there much happens to her and as she finds herself getting to grips in the city that never sleeps, she unfortunately finds herself becoming entwined with an interesting and oddly humorous white slavery storyline.
I was intrigued to hear Joanne Clifton was playing the lead as Millie, as it can often be a disappointment when TV stars don’t live up to your expectations of musical theatre professionals. However Joanne was perfect for this role with a superb voice that showcased her vast vocal range and her stage presence, which was felt right throughout the theatre. The casting of this show is great, with Luca Rush playing a side splitting performance as Mrs Meers, and others performances played by Sam Barrett as Jimmy and Graham MacDuff delivering a lively and lifelike drunk as Trevor Graydon. It appeared he had obviously ad-libbed a little further than he should on the press night as it resulted in Joanne trying to refrain from laughing as he got more and more drunk. However it failed and she burst into laughter and a huge applause and cheer from the audience was felt!
This production had the glitz and glamour this storyline needed, with a case made up of talented musical theatre actors/actresses and plenty of foot tapping action throughout. During some scenes it did feel slightly stagnant and I personally felt it needed more pace to keep the momentum of the show going. I enjoyed the setting of this production and whilst it was rather basic, it didn’t overshadow the performances as shows often rely on the grandness of a set rather than the natural abilities of those involved. However for scenes where the dialogue was translated by a small projection, it became hard to read and understand what was being said in the subtitles, which also meant the audience focus wasn’t on the performance and it took something away from this.
It did appear a tap click track was used for some of the dance scenes which did let down the freshness of the performance, especially during some tap numbers. You cant beat the real thing – especially when you have a dancer as the lead!
I enjoyed this show, it had everything it needed to delight the audience and we all left with a feel good atmosphere at the end of the performance. The performances from all involved were a pleasure to watch and review!
The show continues its performances at The Churchill until Saturday 10th June 2017 and continues its tour – further details and tickets can be found here.