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Goodnight Mrs Calabash review at Upstairs at the Gatehouse London

Ovation has become one of the best exponents of musical theatre on the fringe.

Over the past few years the in-house company of Upstairs at the Gatehouse has developed into a master of the miniature – perfecting the use of the small space to deliver fizzing shows of great ingenuity.

Once again director Racky Plews and choreographer Lee Proud – the force behind the acclaimed Guys and Dolls last Christmas – have sprinkled a little stardust to ensure this tale of Jimmy ‘Schnozzle’ Durante is not to be sniffed at. However, they are let down by a snivel of a script that is an anodyne retelling of his rise and relationship with first wife, Jeanne – years later revealed as the mysterious Mrs Calabash whom Durante used to say goodnight to at the end of every radio show.

Author Tony Day is far better delivering witty lyrics and music in songs that could have been plucked straight from a 1930s Broadway show – the period and place in which this is mostly set – and they are belted out by a typically effervescent cast, drilled to within an inch of their lives by Plews and Proud.

In classic Broadway style the lead, Tim Frost, only stepped in with four days’ rehearsal and, with growing confidence, he will surely do the old Schnoz proud.

Production Information

Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London, May 26-June 24

Tony Day
Racky Plews
Tim Frost, Jenni Bowden, Matt Palmer, David Muscat, Rachel Ann Crane, Faith Erde, Lucy Mills, Keri Flanagan, Ryan Bernstein, Aaron Gibson, Josh Wilmott
Running time
2hrs 30 mins

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