★★ | She Loves Me, Landor Theatre
Mistaken identity has long been the theme of love stories. This love story centres round a perfume shop in Budapest where two sparring employees unwittingly exchange love letters via a lonely-hearts advertisement. Sound familiar?
The musical was based on a play that inspired “The Shop Around the Corner” and the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film You’ve Got Mail.
Staging a musical in a small space like The Landor is fraught with difficulties and is a challenge that the team always rise to. One of the issues is that in a fringe venue there isn’t the scope for a huge dazzling set, scores of dancers and big choreographed routines. This puts the focus back onto the musical itself. In the case of their previous triumphs, such as “Damn Yankees”, this isn’t a problem. Where the musical is as weak as this one, with lacklustre and forgettable songs, lame comedy and a tedious plot, it simply doesn’t work at all and makes for dull viewing.
There are lots of positive aspects to the production. “Britain’s Got Talent” finalist Charlotte Jaconelli makes a dazzling stage debut and has a superb voice as well as a lot of acting talent. Equally, Matthew Wellman is a singing sensation with a beautiful voice and Emily Lynn also puts in a great performance. Indeed, the whole cast work incredibly hard to make this work. The Art Nouveau inspired set is well thought and cunningly used.
This production tries really hard but ultimately; the source material is so weak that the efforts of the team can’t revive this dated corpse of a show.
She Loves Me is at the Landor Theatre until the 7th of March 2015.
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He’s usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.