Grand Opera House York. Reviewed by Michelle Richardson
Winner of six Tony Awards Thoroughly Modern Millie is the delightful comedy set in NewYork in 1922, and based on the 1967 award-winning film. Now showing at the Grand Opera House, York, running until Saturday 4th March and touring the UK.
It is 1922 and Millie Dillmount, played by Joanne Clifton best known from Strictly Come Dancing, has just arrived in New York City from Kansas with every intention of marrying a rich man. Having her purse stolen and nowhere to go she bumps into a stranger, who appears to be a bit of a lad, but he does help her to find a place to stay. We see Millie transfer from a country bumpkin into a flapper, with the bobbed hair and trendy clothes, and getting a job as a stenographer and setting her sites on her boss, Mr Trevor Graydon, played by Graham MacDuff.
Her “Chinese” landlady, Mrs Meers, played wonderfully by Lucas Rush, is really a wanted criminal selling any poor orphan girl that has the misfortune of staying at “her” establishment into slavery. Mrs Meers would not be out of place being cast as a pantomime villain, and Rush contributed greatly to the comedy of the whole show. His vocal performance of “They Don’t Know” was one of the highlights of the show.
Needless to say, things don’t go to plan and she ends up falling in love with the supposedly flaky, penniless, ladykiller Jimmy Smith, played by Sam Barrett. His portrayal of Jimmy was more than a match for Clifton with his singing and dancing.
Katherine Glover, who plays Millie’s friend Dorothy, and MacDuff certainly have the best vocals of the whole cast but Clifton does a great job as Millie and shows she can sing and act, as well as dance. They are well supported by the rest of the cast. I must also mention one of the dancers who also played Ching Ho, Damian Buhagiar, his dancing and athleticism was so memorizing.
The costumes are beautiful and the choreography is amazing. The set whipped back into the age of the roaring 20’s, the lift scene with the lights was one to note.
Overall it was a great comedy performance and had all the audience laughing, and at one stage even the cast when MacDuff was playing the extremely drunk Graydon, with Clifton and Barrett. It was infectious to see everyone laughing along and taking it in their stride.
If you are after a light hearted musical comedy and don’t take anything too seriously you will not be disappointed.