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She Loves Me

She Loves Me at the Landor Theatre. Photo: Darren Bell She Loves Me at the Landor Theatre. Photo: Darren Bell
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The original production of She Loves Me was overshadowed in 1963 by the juggernaut that was Hello Dolly on Broadway. Later revivals in the 1990s – both in the US and the West End – fared much better where Jerry Bock’s music and Sheldon Harnick’s lyrics struck both a nostalgic and romantic chord with modern audiences.

Director Robert McWhir is a past master at regenerating big musicals for the small stage but, despite strong production values, attention to detail and a talented cast, She Loves Me remains a thin piece of musical theatre. The plot is frustrating, it lacks any memorable tunes – their best work appeared a year later in Fiddler on the Roof – and ultimately it outstays its welcome.

McWhir, however, has fashioned an accomplished, lively production introducing some notable performers including Britain’s Got Talent finalist Charlotte Jaconelli as Amalia, who lends some show-stopping vocals to the variable score. John Sandberg is an affable, charismatic Georg in a difficult leading role that is overshadowed vocally by Matthew Wellman’s smooth, scheming Steven Kodaly.

Ian Dring is constantly good value both as the aging Mr Maraczek and the archly camp maitre-d’ at the Cafe Imperiale. An enthusiastic Joshua LeClair brings some much needed energy to second act, while newcomer Emily Lynne appears confident, if occasionally too quiet as the credulous Ilona Ritter.

  • Landor, London
  • February 4-March 7, PN February 9
  • Authors: Joe Masteroff book, Jerry Bock music, Sheldon Harnick lyrics
  • Director: Robert McWhir
  • Musical director: Ian Vince-Gatt
  • Choreographer: Robbie O’Reilly
  • Design: David Shields set/costume, Richard Lambert lighting
  • Technical: Benjamin Newsome casting, Cecily Rabey stage manager, Nina Morley wardrobe
  • Cast includes: Charlotte Jaconelli, John Sandberg, Emily Lynne, Matthew Wellman, Joshua LeClair, Ian Dring
  • Producer: Theatrica Ltd
  • Running time: 2hrs 40mins

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Verdict
Even a fresh, young cast and an accomplished team struggle to make this difficult, old-fashioned Broadway show relevant
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