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Musical comedy Crush at Richmond Theatre

Crush at Richmond TheatreIt is 1963 and the Dame Dorothea Dosserdale School for Girls raises free spirits and independent thinkers. That is until the new headmistress Miss Bleacher arrives. The Victorian pedagogue arrives at the school with the aim of producing ‘the future mothers of the future sons of England’. She is determined to stamp out ‘indecent and unnatural behaviour’ and, abetted by goody two shoes Brenda Smears, she sets out to unmask two sixth formers caught in flagrante in the art room. But the spirit of Dame Dorothea lingers on and the girls are not giving in without a fight.

With a smart, slick book by Maureen Chadwick the story is well paced and never drags, which is no surprise as Chadwick is a successful TV writer (her credits include Bad Girls, Footballers’ Wives and Waterloo Road). Composer and lyricist Kath Gotts produces song after song of memorable, foot tapping tunes. This fast paced, energetic production is directed by the ever impressive Anna Linstrum.

In the cast of twelve there are some stand out performances. Georgia Oldman’s Brenda Smears is played perfectly as nervy and swotty but not too unlikeable. We realise she’s just a young girl desperate to fit in and find her place. Brianna Ogunbawo, as Daimler Jones, makes her professional stage debut, and what a debut. Her solo ‘Too Much In Love’ shows off her strong voice and her particularly melodious lower register. If this is her debut, I can’t wait to see her again in five years time.

Stage doyenne Rosemary Ashe impresses throughout as Miss Bleacher, the staid, uptight headmistress. She is without equal in Act Two. In the penultimate number, ‘I Ask For Nothing’, a passionate, Shirley Bassey-esque diva is unleashed; she ascends a staircase and exits the stage in a dramatic flourish of arm waving and paper throwing. Ashe was simply marvellous.

The show features strong choreography by Richard Roe, especially in large group numbers; and a twirling multi coloured umbrella segment never fails to raise a smile.

David Farley’s successful cartoon inspired set moves from bland black and white line drawings in the first act to bright colours and props reminiscent of Pop Art as the story moves to London in the second act.

Crush is hugely enjoyable. Don’t expect any serious contemplations; do expect jolly hockey sticks and good tunes. It’s a light musical comedy and as such is very successful.

4 stars

 

Review by Laura-Jane Foley

CRUSH
It’s 1963 and Dame Dorothea Dosserdale School for Girls has a proud tradition of fostering free spirits from all walks of life – so it’s a crushing blow when the new Headmistress turns out to be a tyrant with strict Victorian values…

St. Trinians meets Malory Towers in new musical Crush: a coming-of-age romp that celebrates schoolgirl friendships and fighting for what you believe in!

Starring Rosemary Ashe (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Oliver!, Mary Poppins) and Sara Crowe (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hay Fever, Private Lives) prepare for riotous routines and hockey sticks to the fore as our girls battle to save their school – and find true love – in this smashing musical comedy from the creators of Bad Girls The Musical.The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables , Oliver!, Mary Poppins) and Sara Crowe (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hay Fever, Private Lives) prepare for riotous routines and hockey sticks to the fore as our girls battle to save their school – and find true love – in this smashing musical comedy from the creators of Bad Girls The Musical.

Crush The Musical – UK Tour, 2015

Cast: Rosemary Ashe (Miss Bleacher), Sara Crowe (Miss Austin), Kirsty Malpass (Miss Givings), Charlotte Miranda-Smith (Camilla), Stephanie Clift (Susan), Brianna Ogunbawo (Daimler), Georgia Oldman (Brenda), Eleanor Brown (Judith), Catherine Hayworth (Annabelle), Emma Harrold, (Lavinia), James Meunier (Dorian), Jennifer Potts (Swing).

Creatives:
Book – Maureen Chadwick (Waterloo Road, Footballers’ Wives)
Music & Lyrics – Kath Gotts (Bad Girls The Musical)
Director – Anna Linstrum (The Sound of Music, High Society)
Assistant Director – Harry Blumenau
Designer – David Farley
Lighting Designer – Johanna Town
Choreographer – Richard Roe
Orchestrator & Music Supervisor – Steven Edis
Musical Director – Helen Ireland
Sound Designer – Ben Harrison
Assoc. Sound Des. – Colin Newland
Casting Director – Debbie O’Brien
General Management – Arden Entertainment

Richmond Theatre London Tickets

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