Lights, camera action and let’s go to the movies courtesy of the summer show at the seafront venue.It is a celebration of film genres and their music – some classics and some specially written by the director and writer Alex Weatherill.
The framework for the musical is the story of a fading star – Kay Lawrence - who made her name in Vaudeville before finding fame in silent movies, went on to be a star in the golden age of Hollywood, a bit part player in television and ended up scraping a living in small town America bars – before being rediscovered by a younger generation.
The show opens with Lawrence accepting a lifetime achievement award and then instantly looks back on her career – an excuse to start with a few Vaudeville numbers – always a winner with me. Lawrence’s signature song is Everything Depends on You – and is used to great effect to show the ups and downs of Lawrence’s career.
Once the hook is thrown out, the genres are reeled in – there is a silent movie sequence, Busby Berkeley dance routine, a wonderful comedy sketch with of horror film characters – Dracula, the Mummy and Frankenstein – with more than a nod to Bela Lugosi.
The first half curtain comes down after a real showstopper of a sequence – movie musicals of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers with all the hit songs including Top Hat, Putting on the Ritz and Change Partners. It was a tap-dancing, toe-tapping sensation.
After the initial numbers Inappropriate Isla and I’ve Got Rythm – a celebration of cowboy movies and musicals like Oklahoma and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – the pace slowed and the music quietened to the likes of Blue Moon as Lawrence’s career hit twilight years.
The show ends with Lawrence’ renaissance and a fabulously creepy Kiss of the Spider Woman tribute.
The cast is first class – Sally Firth is the young Lawrence, sassy and graceful – and Majorie Yates – with a voice like of the of Rosemary Clooney, deep , sexy and knowing, as the star. The rest have charm, cheek and talent a plenty as they sing, dance and act their way through 70 years of film magic. The new songs and music from Weatherill is all in the spirit of Hollywood musicals at their best. The finale includes That’s Entertainment – this show is certainly entertainment at its best and Hooray for Hollywood Brid style, indeed.
At The Movies is on each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until September 1, daily at 7.30pm.
Book tickets on 01262 678258.