Published On: Fri, Mar 21st, 2014 on 7:29 pm

Theatre review: 42nd Street, Leeds Grand Theatre

42nd Street

42nd Street

The Leeds Amateur Operatic Society (LAOS) held its first highly anticipated production of 42nd Street on 18 March at the Leeds Grand Theatre.

I had the opportunity to be in the audience, as I watched a show that eventually changed my perception on musicals.

The story of 42nd Street followed the life of a strong-hearted theatre producer named Julian Marsh (played by John Hall) as he tried to stage a Broadway musical at the height of the great depression in New York.

The audience was practically watching a play, inside a play.

Tensions got high between the proud leading lady Dorothy Brock (Laura Judge) and an enthusiastic newcomer Peggy Sawyer (Lydia Bradd) at the auditions.

The story revolved around Peggy, who seemed to stand out from everyone else with her fancy footwork and singing prowess.

Showing us she had the potential to replace leading lady Dorothy, she was with no doubt “hot in the foot department” as Maggie Jones (Samantha Griffiths) said.

Maggie, like Bert Barry (Jonty Wilson), was undoubtedly one of the funniest characters, whose mannerisms and jokes had the majority of the audience chuckling over.

Throughout 42nd Street, I paid the most attention to the storyline. It was entertaining and not just full of dance and song. There were also a couple of twists and turns that I sure weren’t expecting.

Just before the interval for example, the producer Mr Marsh told us (the audience) that our tickets would be refunded due to a sudden change of events in the storyline.

It was an act of course, but it drew the audience into the play.

The play wasn’t cheesy as some might expect. Sure it had catchy numbers and glamour, but it wasn’t overdone. The only exception was when everyone sung and danced on dimes for the catchy number “We’re In The Money” that was a scene made to remember.

Dance routines were complex and well-rehearsed, consisting of a variety of moves including twirls, hops and pirouettes.

I was mainly surprised at how well everyone was in sync with each other, sometimes dancing so close that it may have turned catastrophic if something went wrong. But nothing did, and the show dazzled.

The only disappointment was that I could barely see much of the younger generation attending. It made me think that, perhaps, people are missing out on quality theatre productions, and this included me.

All in all, 42nd Street was an entertaining production I’ll remember for a long time. Kudos to LAOS for such an enjoyable experience.

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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