Again managing to score a bargain day seat rate of £19 we were pretty content on sitting in the grand circle. But, much to our delight we were then upgraded from the grand circle to the royal circle, gaining great prime viewing seats. I feel we managed to enjoy the London theatre scene on a budget, and after now seeing two shows for crazy cheap prices and Marisa and Co scoring cheap seats for a 3rd show – our Mission was Complete!!!The Dargahi’s were so excited to see the show – with both Marisa and David performing in childhood versions of the show back at school. Having this element really made me enjoy it that much more, casually glancing over to look at their beaming faces during the show.
As a show ‘Pajama Game’ is quite dated. It has a very generic – Man meets Woman, Man and Woman fall in love, something dramatic happens where they split up, the problem is then resolved and all is good in the world. Set in 1952 America the story centres on a union of factory workers trying to get a well deserved 7.5 cent pay rise.
Back then, this plot line probably filled the sense of romanticism and escapism which was needed. Where now, desensitisation through the media multiple avenues we need much more to fulfil those same desires. More grand gestures and stories like the Titanic, The Notebok and Musicals like Les Mis, Once and the production value and spectacle of Wicked etc are needed.
I do wonder how the idea of writing a musical about PJ’s came about? With the book being by George Abbott and Richard Bissell a musical was formed with the help from Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, with adding the music and lyrics.
Despite the dated aspect the talent level for the show was very high. A strong consistent ensemble and great leads providing laughs and a strong vocals. Playing on the musical comedy aspect this musical contains knife throwing, tap dancing and much more, providing an easy to watch show with a nice energy to it.
Michael Xavier who played the part of ‘Sid’ – Provided us with superb vocals and a bit of eye candy for the ladies. I particularly enjoyed his vocals in the song – “Hey ( you with the stars in your eyes)”. Such a lovely wholesome clear and strong vocal performance throughout the show. Joanna Riding who played the part of ‘Babe’ – easily provided us with a performance and vocals to match Xavier as the female lead. Playing a somewhat tom boyish independent woman who heads up the complaints committee she really stood out.
Gary Wilmot provided the main source of laughs for the show, with his knife throwing drunken antics. Back to the earlier point of the dated script , a key example of this is the dynamics between Wilmot and Alexis Owen-Hobbs ( who plays Gladys ). With emotions jumping from one extreme to the other just in order to move the story along. Although it was for character development it posed for a little bit of a disjointed narrative. Alexia Own-Hobbs though was a little power house – especially with steam heat number.
A mention also goes out to Claire Machin who played Mabel the assistance to Sid. Providing lots of humour and cute musical numbers, she was a great addition to the cast.Stephen Meare’s choreography showcases a lot of his trade mark moves, matmatic arm isolations and fancy footwork and with his star Jo Morris looking stunning as always.