Salad Days, Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London, November 2009

What fun this was! The old 1950s musical by Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds is a feast of joie de vivre and absurdity. And this Tête à Tête production worked like a charm, with the performers on a grassy lawn of astroturf, while some of the audience were at café tables, and others on a grassy bank. As winter approaches one can imagine that summers were always like this. A magical piano plays in the park, compelling even the policemen to dance, to say nothing of the lovers Jane and Timothy, well portrayed by Michelle Francis and Sam Harrison, with refined accents that never went over the top. They take care of the piano owned by a tramp and thaumaturge, who later turns out to be Timothy’s ‘black-sheep’ uncle. He was wonderfully well played by Matthew Hawksworth, who doubled up in other roles, such as the bishop, and danced gloriously in the choreography designed by Quinny Sacks. The dancing at one point even involved audience members, including yours truly who was gratified by congratulations from the director, Bill Bankes-Jones. His direction gave us a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and we left with spirits high despite the dismal weather outside.

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