The Theatreguide.London Review
Fun Of The Fair
David Essex's musical, which has actually been touring for two years and now comes to spend a summer in London, is an amiable entertainment that makes no demands on its audience other than to sit back and let it come to them.
In the genre of
'juke box musicals,' built on an already existing catalogue of songs,
it ranks well ahead of Dirty Dancing and Dreamboats And Petticoats,
though not in the same league as Mamma Mia or Jersey Boys.
the proprietor of a travelling fun fair whose son falls in love with
the daughter of a local hardman, much to the displeasure of both
fathers and to the lad's previous girlfriend. A subplot has the fair's
fortune teller in love with the boss, who is still grieving for his
late wife, while a nice plot and characterisation touch makes the two
fathers similar enough that it's clear they could have been friends in
score is made
up of David Essex songs, including many of his hits from the 1970s, and
book writer Jon Conway has integrated them into the story very
skilfully, so that only a couple seem uncomfortably shoehorned in.
it is a
nice revelation that many of the songs are inherently dramatic and that
some written as solos convert successfully to duets or group numbers.
Noticed Me' is
sung in tandem by the two girls who love the boy, each giving it a
different flavour, while 'Rock On' becomes a nostalgia-fuelled bonding
moment for the two fathers and 'Father And Son' is a lovely
for the father and son.
The best redefining of a song comes as Louise English as the fortune teller sings 'You're In My Heart' about David Essex's character while he sings it to his dead wife.
David Essex is a
warm and fatherly host for the evening, guaranteeing a sense that
nothing can go too terribly wrong, and fans will be pleased to know
that his voice may have a bit more of a tremolo and sob in it, but is
still all there.
the best singer in the cast, Christopher Timothy sustains a sense of
the gangster's inherent decency, and Michael Pickering and Nicola
Brazil make an attractive pair of lovers.
The Fun Of The Fair does not advance the art form an inch, but it
provides an honest moneysworth of entertainment.
Return to Theatreguide.London home page.
Review - All The Fun Of The Fair - Garrick 2010