This isn’t the most lavish revival of a West End classic but there’s no escaping the fact that this cheerfully daft story of thirties class distinction is still a clear winner, mainly thanks to its simple but engaging book and a collection of endearing songs.
Walt Spangler’s set retains the intention of the original - a sort of country house in the style of an over-sized doll’s house - but isn’t helped by a meagre budget that leaves it looking rather flimsy.
The other cut-back appears to be in the casting and by the time you get to the celebrated Lambeth Walk, even some enthusiastic doubling up cannot hide the fact that there really aren’t enough people on stage to made for a decent dinner party, let alone a full scale East End knees-up.
Nevertheless, director and chorographer Warren Carlyle presents a serviceable and thoroughly enjoyable revival that plays to the piece’s strengths.
Richard Frame plays working class hero Bill Snibson completely for laughs, which robs the character of some of his potential for poignancy but goes down well with the audience.
Faye Tozer, however, looks like an actress who knows she’s found her ideal role and is determined to make it entirely her own. There’s a lovely lightness of touch about her performance and she’s spot on in her big numbers, be it the cheerful, toe-tapping Take It on the Chin or the much more emotional Once You Lose Your Heart.
The rest of the main cast is made up of some dependable veterans - Trevor Bannister as the family drunk, Sylvester McCoy as the estate’s solicitor and Dillie Keane as the redoubtable, matriarchal duchess, apparently enjoying her new-found status as a battleaxe.
It’s bright and breezy and good fun throughout - and what more could you ask for in a musical?