A brief rundown of theatre that I saw in the last week:
Tuesday: Bug, Found111 ★★★★✩
Tracy Letts’ play about a paranoid drifter (James Norton) and the woman who both takes him in, and gets taken in by him (Kate Fleetwood, pictured), is electrifying in the temporary space of Found111 on Charing Cross Road. On press night, we were crammed in ridiculously tightly, such that it was worth commenting on. Friends who attended since suggest that ‘normal’ seating may not be as bad.
See also: Bug production photo gallery
Wednesday: Tap Factory, Aylesbury Waterside ★★★½
If you like Tap Dogs or Stomp, you’ll love this touring production that takes elements of both. The pre-curtain clowning doesn’t really work, especially in Aylesbury’s auditorium where the stalls aisles aren’t really visible from anywhere not directly next to them. But once the dance and the drumming gets going it’s good fun.
Thursday: Tell Me on a Sunday, Aylesbury Waterside
Jodie Prenger is in great form in this one-act, one-woman musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black, although moving from her American-style vocals while singing to her native Blackpool accent for speaking is quite jarring. It’s a relief that the additional songs created for Denise Van Outen’s 2003 run have disappeared, with a setting reverting to the show’s original early 1980s setting.
The second act is taken up with a Q&A with Jodie – how nice it would be if, one day, Tell Me on a Sunday was reunited with a dance performance to revive the original Song and Dance format.
Friday: Die Fledermaus, Aylesbury Waterside ★★½
After enjoying Ellen Kent’s production of Tosca in October last year – even though it replaced the traditional “Tosca throws herself off the castle battlements” with “Tosca trips out of a doorway” – this limp version of the classic operetta was disappointing.
Saturday: Princess Caraboo, Finborough Theatre ★★★★★
I don’t give five-star reviews out glibly – and if Musical Theatre Review allowed me to give half-stars, this may have rated 4.5 instead, as a little polish here and there wouldn’t go amiss. But the humour is pitched so well, the structure works and the songs are delightful. Even if the melody to Caraboo’s key solo number, ‘I Am My Own Person’, has more than an echo of Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ to it…