Half a century ago this week (April 30, 1970), the late Hello, Dolly! star Carol Channing brought her one-man show, Carol Channing and her Ten Stout-Hearted Men, to London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Our critic, RB Marriott, was a fan: “Channing has the luminosity, glitter and glamour of a real star; she is also very talented, and has a personality of uncommon character and fascination. Her one-woman show may be an extended cabaret act, but she makes it, and herself, fill the Lane magnificently.
“Miss Channing is a brilliant comedienne, witty, subtle, penetrating. Her impressions of Marlene Dietrich, Brigitte Bardot, Carmen Miranda and a Mae Murray-type of silent film star are superbly done; rich in insight and true observation and extremely funny. She can be beautifully sentimental and touching, too. Her linking dialogue and effects are most effectively accomplished.
“I only disliked a Noel Coward London song, a poor, weak affair, which brought the evening to a timid climax. I don’t consider this is worth a place in her repertoire.
“Miss Channing’s stout-hearted men give first-rate support. All are good dancers, and they have imaginative and often exciting routines by Joe Layton, who devised the show. Here is a performer of rare gifts, whose production is a joy. The staging is impeccable; all seems fresh and alive; in an evening of high skill and creative magic there are ease and fluidity, which add their own grace and charm. In welcoming Miss Channing, I hope very much that she has the successful season she merits.”
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