From the very start, 42nd Street is an eruption of movement, with the curtain rising two feet to reveal the tapping feet of the 40-strong ensemble. The first glimpse of the show sets the pace for what the following 2.5 hours will contain; a relentless face-paced explosion of tapping. I was simply blown away by the choreography and level of talent on stage. The story of 42nd Street is fairly cliche and predictable, depicting America in Depression; with a star who becomes indisposed and the fresh-faced newbie stepping in to replace her. Plot aside, 42nd Street is one of the most exciting musicals I’ve seen in a long time.
With direction from Mark Bramble and choreography by Randy Skinner, this show highlights the best of the West End. Each scene moves swiftly between each dazzling number not allowing the mood to drop for a moment, emphasising the attitude that the show must go on. The two work seamlessly together to create a show which has your heart pounding and a smile which makes your face ache. The costumes are gloriously sparkly, emphasising every step as the lights hit them, and the set design is beautifully understated to boast the vast talent on stage.
Showcasing the largest cast currently on the West End the scale of this show is unbelievable. The noise created from the synchronised tap shoes gave me chills. Leading the cast is velvet-voiced Sheena Easton as diva Dorothy Brock, with Norman Bowman playing authoritarian Julian Marsh in the performance I saw. Clare Halse is starlet Peggy Sawyer, a remarkable performance full of pace and wit, she absolutely steals the show in the elaborate dance number and finale, “Forty-Second Street”. The production sticks to its routes but exemplifies how a full cast and wonderful choreography can make a huge impact on an audience. With many unforgettable numbers, the highlights for me include “We’re in the Money” and “Lullaby of Broadway”. The whole show is full of energy and power which is dazzling and enthralling to watch.
Go and meet those dancing feet and leave the theatre grinning from ear-to-ear. This infectious musical is really not to be missed.