Fisher lights up every scene

Wonderful Town

By The Newsroom
Friday, 4th May 2012, 7:00 am

Lyceum Theatre Sheffield

Steve Draper

How do you solve a problem like… TV talent shows? You throw the winner into the thick of a national tour and see what happens.

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In the Lyceum, Connie Fisher was obviously at home. Her voice you could take for granted, but in this role it’s a big stage presence that’s required.

The wise old man of the musical theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber, knew what he was choosing – Connie Fisher lit up every scene she was in.

The big romantic numbers are taken by the other female lead, and Bernstein’s music, unsurprisingly, demands an operatic agility, effortlessly negotiated by Lucy Van Gasse.

Other characters, stereotypical as in any musical, seemed almost real in the sure hands of a cast with no weak links.

Michael Xavier as the leading man and all the other big roles fall into this category, in fact the talent almost betrays the plot when the dumb giant played by Nic Greenshields suddenly sings a technically challenging song – Pass the Football.

Hints of Stomp, and Riverdance were interesting features of the engaging choreography, while Bernstein’s edgy swing, such a joyous feature of this musical, was tightly controlled by James Burton and the band.

There is only one drawback to this production. It is Braham Murray’s last as artistic director of the Royal Exchange Theatre; so catch it here tonight or tomorrow.