Poole & Parkstone Productions [P&P Productions] Lighthouse, Poole Renée Claude 26 May 2023
I went into this show knowing nothing about Me And My Girl but was instantly taken aback by how professional it was. The opening number ‘A Weekend at Hareford’ sets your expectations very high, with Lady Jacqueline (Katherine Steele) commanding the stage as soon as she stepped out onto the balcony. Both the posh and cockney accents were present throughout the songs and draw you into their world.
‘The Family Solicitor’ was an exceptional number led by Herbert Parchester (Adrian Lane), with intricate choreography and origami fans. Congratulations to the props team for making a glass in which the drink never spilled, even with all the little hopping and skipping!
The title song ‘Me and My Girl’ sung by Bill Snibson (Chris Stowe) and Sally Smith (Leanne Holland) had a rocky start, but both found their footing and Sally shone in her role. The company did the set changes, and this helped keep the setting of 1930s’ England.
The crowd favourite seemed to be ‘You Would If You Could’, a hilarious contrast of Lady Jacqueline’s seduction, and Bill’s attempts to escape. Claire Camble-Hutchins did a remarkable job choreographing the entire musical, however this song stood out to me; with Sally riding on Bill’s back like a horse at one point, this scene was phenomenally funny. Chris Stowe, who played Bill, has a remarkable talent when it comes to physical comedy and times his tricks perfectly.
Act One ends with ‘The Lambeth Walk’ with the entire cast and company showing off their dance skills and ability to produce a wonderfully fun musical. The band lead each musical number flawlessly and brought a vibrant atmosphere to the theatre.
The curtains rise on the second act with’The Sun Has Got His Hat On’ led by Gerald (Scott Jenkins). With a mixture of tap, ballet, jazz, and contemporary dances from the company, this Act Two opener was fantastic. Scott plays Gerald to perfection, with just the right amount of camp, and great comedic timing.
You can tell Chris Stowe had so much fun with his character, especially when wearing his crown and cape; rolling around on the floor and whipping the cape around the stage was abso-bally-lutely delightful to watch, I can’t talk enough about how funny this production is.
The villain song ‘Song of Hareford’ was intricately crafted as a military march. Maria, Duchess of Dene (played by Clare Albanozzo) has such a powerful voice that although she is at the back of the stage, she controls the stage and demands attention. Even the statues and paintings on stage joined in for this haunting history song about Hareford.
It became evident that the props team love working with P&P when Bill and Sir John Tremayne (Ian Metcalfe) began pouring drinks that would magically disappear once poured. The recurring joke of Bill stealing John’s pocket watch had the audience eagerly anticipating the next, and their dynamic duet ‘Love Makes the World Go Roun’ demonstrates their appreciation for each other as characters and actors.
‘Leaning On a Lamppost’ was a heartbreakingly beautiful gesture by Bill as he waits for Sally that was reminiscent of Gene Kelly in Singing In The Rain, complete with the elegant Lamppost Dancers.
Sally’s makeover is something out of My Fair Lady, coming from a cockney lass to a fit and proper lady by the end of the show, and the finale ties the production together with Gerald and Jacquie coupling up, Bill and Sally taking centre stage, and Sir John and Maria pairing up too. The show ended with a fantastic integration of the Londoners and the Harefords, and a well-deserved standing ovation.
I would recommend this production to anyone who knows how to laugh. There was a vast array of ages in the audience, but all enjoyed it, nonetheless. Well done to everyone in the cast and crew for what truly is the happiest show in town!