What a glorious way to spend an evening! 'The MGM Story' charts the history of the MGM film musical from start to finish and packs a whopping THIRTY-TWO songs into the mix, together with fabulous dancing. It's a history lesson crossed with high speed musical theatre and is totally wonderful.
What makes it even more fantastic is the fact that there is only a cast of three and they are all on stage the whole time. Steven Dalziel, James Leece and Miranda Wilford have unstoppable energy and show only an occasional hint of breathlessness, despite non-stop singing, dancing, AMAZING tap dancing and acting. Such versatility! This Triple Threat Trio deserve an award for their endless energy alone, never mind anything else. The passion and love that they clearly have for the subject material shone through and was infectious.
This demanding show could have been a tall order for only three performers but they completely pulled it off and made it look effortless - no mean feat - and I congratulate each of them, not only for their undeniable talent but also for making it so enjoyable and so much fun.
The show deals with the MGM film musicals in chronological order, from 'Broadway Melody' to 'Gigi'. We were treated to songs from the big MGM hits, such as 'The Wizard of Oz', 'On The Town' and 'Singing In The Rain', as well as some of the earlier productions from the 20s and 30s. The presentation was exhilarating and immaculate. Each performer did narration as well as singing and dancing which was executed perfectly in a relatively small stage area.
I liked the way the narrative was delivered - it felt like the performers were really engaging with the audience, rather than just speaking lines. It was interesting and informative and I learned quite a lot about MGM and the golden age of the film musical.
The set was simple, set out like a backstage area with crates and ladders which were cleverly used and seamlessly employed for different things, such as the megaphone which was the Tin Man's hat one minute and a bottle of champagne the next.
This show worked extremely well in the venue of Hope Mill Theatre where the audience are up close with the performers and which makes it immersive and exciting.
The writer, Chris Burgess, is to be congratulated for this wonderful creation, as are all those involved. The choreography was astounding and the musical arrangement was perfect.
For me, tonight showcased the fact that true entertainment and talent doesn't come in the form of CGI or special effects, it's what was unfolding on stage before us and it made me pine for those long-gone Golden Age days. THAT's entertainment!
Tonight, was magical. It evoked the glamour and escapism of the MGM film musical and I loved it. Who could ask for anything more indeed?
Reviewed by: Nicky Lambert
Reviewed on: 26th February 2017
North West End Rating: ★★★★★