Me and My Girl - Chichester Festival Theatre

Me and my Girl is currently running at Chichester Festival Theatre until 25th August 2018. Starring Matt Lucas, Caroline Quentine, Clive Rowe and Alex Young, it is a valuable piece of onstage magic, guaranteed to take the whole theatre on a roller-coaster of imagination, emotion and just plain fun!

Me and My Girl - Chichester Festival Theatre

Me and My Girl presents a charming plot through a medium of feel good songs, including the renowned Leaning on the Lamp-post, The Sun has got his Hat On and the Lambeth Walk, to provide engaging on-stage entertainment the whole family to enjoy. Starring Matt Lucas and Caroline Quentin, the revised 1930s classic is brought to you by Stephen Fry and Mike Ockrent and follows a Cockney borrow boy who goes by the name of Bill Snibson. After confronting the knowledge that he is to be the Earl of Hareford, the Duchess sets out to make Bill fit for his role at Hareford Hall, leaving his sweetheart Sally to question her place in his new life. The story continues to follow his journey of self-discovery and whether he is able to pursue his new adventures at the cost of the life he knows and loves.

This terrific piece of magical theatre wins over all the senses and leaves the audience ‘singing and clapping along. Resistance is futile’ – Daily Mail. Alex Young, who plays Sally Smith, portrays a lovable character observers easily sympathise with. Her stunning voice with its rich, full tone is left ringing in everybody’s ears and her chemistry with Matt Lucas is obvious, even from the back row of the theatre. Despite the scepticism of hiring celebrities in show revivals, Matt Lucas proved to be an asset to the performance. His comedic timing was pure perfection, which was to be expected given his comedic history, like his success in Little Britain and Come Fly with Me. His vocal changes of characterisation were excellent, even with needing time out of the role on vocal rest, although his vocal strain was evident towards the end of the show where his voice appeared weaker, tired and less projected, particularly during Leaning on the Lamp-Post. Vocal clarity also lacked at the beginning of the show in the vocal ensemble and the loss of diction made it difficult to understand the narrative. However, tightness amongst the ensemble in terms of everything else was to be admired, maintaining an upwards trajectory of expectation for the rest of the musical. The energy on stage was infectious across the auditorium, from the purpose of each step of each cast member to their facial expression. The only criticism of choreographic choices would be that the movement of the orchestral arrangement in some of the big songs wasn’t reflected in the visual movement onstage, leaving the effects of a ‘wow’ factor unsatisfied. An exception to this would be during the Lambeth Walk which contributed to leaving the audience inspired to tap dance. The Dream Sequence was also aurally and visually enthralling and transported us to a world beyond our own.

The visual illusions presented proved to be creatively astounding, from the set design itself to the use of lights. Scene changes were slick, smooth and tastefully done and enhanced the artistic representation of the production. Each part of the set seamlessly melted from one to another and became part of the show. A transition that should be highlighted should be the utilisation of light, projection and sound combined with the movement of the actors to provide an imaginatively convincing illusion of the characters travelling on a train. This was visually pleasing and encouraged the audience to tap into their imaginations and involving them directly into a journey.

Other artistic qualities that should be noted include the manipulation of the space, lighting effects and projections, sounds effects. Chichester Festival Theatre provides a thrust stage, which has been known to be difficult to adapt a show to, however the cast and creative team of Me and My Girl used this to their advantage to create another dimension to the performance. For example, there were moments when a character would address a group of the other characters, who were placed sitting on the edge of the stage with their backs to the audience. This character would then speak to the addressees which would create the affect they were addressing the whole room directly, involving the audience in a new way. Furthermore, the stage was vast in size and the way the cast were able to manoeuvre around the space simultaneously, evenly and with vigour was exceptional and effortless. Alongside the manipulation of the shapes of the set and direction of the lights, the stage was portrayed to be smaller than its actual size. This helps to create a well-rounded visual and enables viewers to take in the imagery as a whole and stay focused on the action without being overwhelmed with too much to look at. The effects during the dream sequence were startling; the flashing lights and sounds with the use of smoke left quite a surreal atmosphere, giving a thorough understanding of Bill’s fears during this section.

Me and My Girl was a worthwhile experience and appeals to all age groups and backgrounds. It’s high energy and uplifting music bodes well with its lovable story-line and is a production audience members can truly invest in and enjoy. With relaxed performances and audio-described showings, the show is very accessible to all, and it is well worth a watch!

Header Image Credit: Chichester Festival Theatre

Author

Katie Utting

Katie Utting

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1 Comments

  • Luke Taylor

    On 7 August 2018, 09:23 Luke Taylor Voice Reporter commented:

    This looks amazing! There aren't enough musicals in the world

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