There is pressure on the creators of a Christmas production – especially one having its West End premiere and based on a 1954 movie classic – to present an audience with a large helping of theatrical magic, but it’s an ingredient in relatively short supply during this somewhat low-budget staging of White Christmas the Musical.
For film fans, there may just be enough content to satisfy, as the action sees entertainers and ex-army pals Bob Wallace and Phil Davis Aled Jones and Tom Chambers putting on a show in a Vermont inn run by their former general, who is down on his luck.
Despite some sound issues, their musical numbers – plus those of sister act Betty Rachel Stanley and Judy Louise Bowden Haynes – do drive the show along, and songs such as Blue Skies and I Love a Piano are neatly choreographed by Randy Skinner UK associate choreographer is Helen Rymer. Yet even the genius of Irving Berlin cannot save David Ives and Paul Blake’s weak book and Morgan Young’s basic staging.
Jones struggles to make the dialogue believable, but adds a welcome dose of charm and nostalgia during Count Your Blessings, while Chambers is, as usual, entertainingly fleet of foot. Fine support comes from Wendi Peters, Graham Cole and the young Sophia Pettit.
Verdict: A hardworking cast ensures White Christmas will entertain, but goosebump moments are few and far between