New York, New York is probably the most famous song from this musical first seen on Broadway in 1944. And this youth production at RNCM is a ‘helluva’ of a show!
Written by Leonard Bernstein and based on a concept by Jerome Robbins the story revolves around three sailors during 24 hours of shore leave in New York. Gabey (Nathan Tunnah), Ozzie (Harvey Stanhope) and Chip (Lucca Chadwick-Patel) begin their leave on a subway train where Gabey falls in love with the winner of June’s ‘Miss Turnstiles’ contest after just a glance at a poster.
Following clues from the poster which Gabey stole the three sailors set about searching the city for ‘Miss Turnstiles’, Ivy Smith played by Daisy Wood. But all does not go to plan as they are chased by the Police which see them split up and end up searching alone.
During their search Ozzie and Chip are seduced by Claire (Clara Booker) and Hildy (Caroline Blair) respectively and whisked off to their homes with more than a night cap in mind. This just leaves Gabey roaming some of the 20,000 streets in New York before he stumbles upon Ivy at Carnegie Hall. Sadly the course of true love does not run smooth for the pair and the show follows their attempts to see each other once more.
Caroline Clegg has done a superb job directing this sizeable cast and the large orchestra under the directorship of Stuart Overington sound stunning throughout. Sometimes in large ensemble pieces such as this the choreography can look jumbled and messy, but this wasn’t the case under Gary James-McCaw’s vision.
Standout performances from the cast ranging in age from 13-20 included Blair who as feisty taxi driver Hildy shines both vocally and in comedy. Tunnah also give an assured performance as the love sick sailor, with the title song of the show being sung with confidence. Wood as Ivy is another notable member of the cast with sadly not enough opportunities to hear what was a beautiful voice.
If there is once complaint, it would be the sound on the night. Frequently microphones were not activated in time to hear some of the dialogue or lyrics from certain cast members. This was probably down to first night issues, but never the less slightly detracted from the performances.
On The Town is a superb show from a talented company, proving on this showing the future of musical theatre is in good hands.
Reviewer: Paul Downham
Reviewed: 23rd April 2015