With a full professional production set to open at Sadler’s Wells this summer, HEOS (Hanwell and Ealing Operatic Society) Musical Theatre have to be applauded for staging their version of 42nd Street.
Obviously, pared back where sets and props are concerned (the stage, the station, the street), there’s certainly no skimping on the musical quality. There are some smashing dancers and singers dotted through this company.
The storyline is the now almost clichéd one of the chorus girl becoming a star. Inspired by the 1933 Warner Bros musical film of the same name, 42nd Street is a solid backstage toe-tapper.
With music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin, songs come thick and fast from across the WB catalogue. Highlights here include “Young and Healthy,” “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” and “Shuffle Off To Buffalo”.
As the story of Julian Marsh’s new show, Pretty Lady, unfolds, starring the prickly Dorothy Brock and featuring a line of leggy chlorines and a cheerful juvenile, we can sit back and enjoy a couple of hours of escapism.
Set in the depression immediately following the Wall Street Crash, 42nd Street follows young Peggy Sawyer, a triple-threat following her Broadway dreams.
It doesn’t shy away from the issues of predatory older men and good time gals, but still retains a family-friendly feel. Much entertainment is to be had from Michelle Spencer’s direction and choreography, which plays to the company’s strengths.
Actors who stood out to me include Chris Yoxall as jaded Marsh, Emma La-Plain as wide-eyed Peggy, Sue Yoxall as composer Maggie, Alexandra Turner as a Dorothy in turns stunning and ridiculous, and Tyrone Heywood as dance master Andy.
A nod too to the hard-working and lively twelve-piece band who keep proceedings pumping and melodies moving.
This was an invitation to “come and meet those dancing feet” that could not be ignored. Using every inch of the Questors main Playhouse, this gave a bit of sparkle to West London’s theatreland.
I heartily recommend this amateur musical theatre company, now 110 years young, who you can follow on their website to see what they are up to next.