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Miracle on 34th Street - The Musical at The King's Theatre, Glasgow

Published by: Cameron Lowe on 22nd Nov 2015 | View all blogs by Cameron Lowe

Our evening began with a false start as the red velvet curtain was raised two feet and then lowered hurriedly revealing that the cast were not in position for their opening tableau! Sadly, this was the first of many technical hitches on the opening night of Miracle on 34th Street in Glasgow's King's Theatre.

The show itself began with some promise as the energetic cast burst into a cartwheeling and high kicking rendition of "Big Ca-lown Balloons" which segwayed directly into the colourful Macy's Parade. However the energetic performances on stage could only briefly mask the electronic soundrack underscore which we can only assume was pre-recorded because we were never introduced to the band or musical director. The opening number also overstayed its welcome revealing that this show might be somewhat out of touch with the modern musical theatre audience who prefer short punchy (catchy) numbers and a story that pulls us in. Sadly, the narrative falls a little short in that department, too ... and there is NO PLACE for a dream ballet in 2015!

The cast certainly gave it their all with solid delivery from all the principals backed by a talented and effervescent chorus. Hannah Thompson was delightful and charming in the central role of Susan Walker. Ms Thompson's youth was wonderfully balanced by a consummate Kris Kringle (Santa to you and me) who was played by a remarkably youthful Danny Lane! Mr Lane gave the audience exactly what we wanted from this most famous of characters - no mean feat from one so young. Brendan Matthew gave a wonderfully OTT performance as Shellhammer - a great distraction for the younger members of the audience. Claire Hawkins and Carl Lindquist delivered the romantic interest well; within the limits of a somewhat old fashioned script.

Technically, the production was quite a disappointment with christmas lights on the blink, misplaced spotlight specials and a truck sliding into the wings. The show was also a victim of that annoying habbit that lighting crews have on opening night of 'nudging' gobos into place bit by bit as though the audience will not notice the 8 foot "window pane" illumination moving across the set if it only moves 2 inches at a time. Many things did go well, though and the set was well designed by David Shields. The snow effects were delightful and much appreciated by the audience.

The production certainly has the ingredients to deliver a little early Christmas cheer but, for me, was only saved by performances which (thankfully) outshone the faulty Christmas Lights onstage.

 

Miracle on 34th Street

Tour continues:

MANCHESTER Opera House

23-25 November

CHESTERFIELD Winding Wheel

26-28 November

CARDIFF New Theatre

1-5 December

EASTBOURNE Royal Hippodrome

9-12 December

WORTHING Connaught Theatre

14-17 December

PETERBOROUGH Broadway

18-19 December

WATFORD Colosseum

21-28 December

 

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