Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

42nd Street

Coventry Musical Theatre Society

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry


IN THE Great Depression of 1930’s New York, there was many a wannabe star waiting for their dreams to come true.

This ‘Rags to Riches’ story is like a mirror in a mirror, it’s a musical about a musical. Julian Marsh (Jamie Sheerman) is ‘King’ of Broadway and his hit shows are numerous. Aspiring showgirl Peggy Sawyer (Kirstie Smith) is laposterte for the audition and seems both nervous and clumsy. But her heart is in the right place.

Meanwhile leading man Billy Lawlor (Callum Roberts) has fallen hard for our starlet. And veteran performer Dorothy Brock (Hannah Farquarson) is unable to complete the run in Philadelphia where her two-timing activities looks set to cost the show its financial backer Abner Dillon (Peter Trew). Who will replace her and save the show? I’ll give you one guess . . .

This is a production, their 109th, full of energy and excellent performances, with a cast of hundreds and a plethora of amazing costume and scene changes that were stunning in their complexity.

I particularly liked We’re in the Money sung by the ‘children’. I’m always impressed by people who can sing AND dance and at the same time! I can’t do either. Choreography (Sue Biddle) was also really impressive, again because so many dancers were involved, and our budding star is intended to cause chaos among them.

This was a thoroughly professional production, directed by Steve Boden with so much to recommend it. Musically I enjoyed Miss Brock’s beautiful and emotional renditions of her solos; her voice is truly amazing and I loved the New York nasal twang that dominated her first number, intended to make a fool of her. She actually created a character that, despite her bad temper and Prima Donna outbursts, was really sympathetic.

If I have a criticism, I felt at times there was too much going on and too many people to watch on stage and I came to enjoy the quieter sections, for example, the lovely section where the dancers are getting ready to go on stage. That was delightful. To 25-06-16

Jane Howard


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