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The Cheeky Chappie review at Union London

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This gem of a play detailing the life of comedian Max Miller concentrates on his rise to fame with the aid of his beautiful wife Kathleen Marsh and her subsequent humiliation at the reading of his will that he had been having a secret affair for over 20 years with his secretary, Ann Graham. 

Jamie Kenna makes for a thoroughly likable Miller, balancing a superb imitation of the comedian’s stage persona with all the foibles and failings of the people’s comic. Jo Price as Kathleen falls easily into the role of the mother figure to Miller and the ties that bound the two so closely over the years. Price appears to be trying desperately to inject some sympathy into her character but the script rarely gives her a chance. Sioned Jones as Ann is simply perfect. The tension created by his marriage is immediately alleviated with the introduction of Miss Graham and Jones lights up the stage as much as her character lights up Millers life. The rest of the characters are portrayed by a quartet of variety performers and Dave Simpson’s clever script weave’s popular contemporary musical numbers echoing the protagonists situation.

Andrew Lynford’s directorial debut shows promise and the set pieces, staging and musical numbers all run smoothly together. If there is to be criticism of this play then it could do with some judicious pruning. The story of his rise to fame is not balanced enough with his fall from grace at the BBC, which seems almost perfunctory. 

Production Information

Union, London, September 28-October 16

Author
Dave Simpson
Producer and Director
Andrew Lynford
Cast includes
Jamie Kenna, Jo Price, Sioned Jones, Philip Lee, Charlotte Milchard, Paul Tate, Annie Walker
Running time
2hrs 40mins

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