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A Spoonful of Stiles & Drewe

Published Wednesday 9 July 2008 at 13:30 by Lisa Martland

Probably best known to a wider audience for writing all the new songs and additional material for the stage version of Mary Poppins, composer George Stiles and lyricist/librettist Anthony Drewe have consistently produced charming and imaginative work since their first piece, Tutankhamun, was staged in 1984. Since then, they have won a large and affectionate following worldwide with their shows Just So, Peter Pan - A Musical Adventure and the Olivier Award-winning Honk!.

Often Sunday night galas such as this are hastily put together, but it was apparent Stiles and Drewe - onstage throughout the evening - along with a sophisticated creative team had put a great deal of thought into devising this one.

A splendid cast, joined by a chorus of Arts Ed graduates, brought to life songs from those productions already mentioned, plus material from several projects the songwriters have in the pipeline. In fact, most of Act II was made up of compositions from one such work-in-progress, Soho Cinders, a contemporary fairytale featuring a love triangle between a candidate for London Mayor, his fianceé and a gay man. In the latter role, Gareth Gates proved his potential as a theatre performer.

Among many other highlights were James Gillan and Claire Moore’s offerings from Peter Pan, Alison Jiear and Joanna Riding’s brilliant performances of two cabaret numbers and Stiles and Drewe themselves completing the evening with the truly timeless Does the Moment Ever Come?

Slick direction from Paul Spicer, combined with fine choreography and a super band, made it clear Stiles and Drewe have plenty more to offer the world of musical theatre beyond this anniversary. Proceeds from the show went towards nurturing new musical theatre writing via the organisation Mercury Musical Developments.

Production information

Her Majesty's Theatre, London, July 6

music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
Paul Spicer
Neil Eckersley and Paul Spicer for Speckulation Entertainment
Cast includes:
Julie Atherton, Helena Blackman, Daniel Boys, Richard Dempsey, Gareth Gates, James Gillan, Alison Jiear, Leanne Jones, Shona Lindsay, Claire Moore, Lisa O'Hare, Joanna Riding, Clive Rowe, Caroline Sheen, Scarlett Strallen, Rebecca Thornhill, Oliver Tompsett
Running time:
2hrs 45mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014