I’ve Been Thinking about my first trip to the London Palladium and there’s no Higher Love I can give to Andrew Bergman and Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon In Vegas The Musical In Concert. So I’ve Come To An Agreement with my theatre-loving heart to try and express the awesomeness of this production.
However, I must Do Something to prove to you that these concerts are worth your time (and money) and to get Out Of The Sun (despite not having much recently) and step into a theatre to watch these guys play. So with A Little Luck, it’s time to get Friki-Friki with my keyboard and, like Elvii in Flight, parachute my thoughts out onto this page.
Since their last installment (A Christmas Carol), London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) Made The Wait Worthwhile with a refreshing twist on a rom-com, Honeymoon in Vegas. They traded last year’s winter warmer with an almighty spring step across the pond. When You Say Vegas, you expect those annoying jazz hands, glitz and glamour, shimmering sparkles and flamboyant feathers.
Wondering how they were going to pull this one off with their lecterns and two towering red banners, you think Honeymoon in Vegas is going to be Anywhere But Here. I know shame on me for thinking such negative thoughts. As Freddie Tapner says “let the music create the imagination”, there’s simply no need for frilly costumes or thrilling sets. This is what I love most about these LMTO concerts, their ability to empower classical music. The music speaks and paints. Stripped back to basics, they own it. I just wish other orchestras could take a note from LMTO’s book on how to attract and engage with a modern audience.
Based on the hit 1992 film starring Sarah Jessica Parker, and Nicholas Cage, Honeymoon in Vegas tells the story of mild-mannered Brooklynite, Jack, who haunted by the fear of a promise to his dying mother never to get married, avoids proposing to his new girlfriend Betsy. He finally summons the nerve and takes Betsy to Las Vegas only to have his plans compromised by a dashing gambler with an eye for luxury and Jack’s new fiancée.
As his mother (Rosemary Ashe) becomes his bad luck charm, Jack Singer (Arthur Darvill) is the butt of everyone’s jokes. Like a looming dark cloud, Never Get Married constantly rains on his parade. Stuck between two women, his unluckiness and awkwardness is our entertainment and downright viewing pleasure. Arthur Darvill played the man with such reluctance and uneasiness, you do feel like screaming at his mother “Jeez! Give the man a break!” He was completely lovable though and finally grew some balls to woo Betsy once again.
Oh I love Betsy (Samantha Barks)! Samantha Barks was incredible. She gave what everyone was after, the voice that could reach right up to the Upper Circle. Desperate for her hand in marriage, Betsy truly has the patience of a saint. Way out of Jack’s league, Betsy is a fun loving, beautiful young woman with a stylish strut in her heels. She’s sassy, confident and not afraid of doing something reckless. Trying her best to stay cool and loved up, Betsy’s Getting Married is the deal breaker and the value of their love is gambled away.
Partners in crime, Tommy Korman (Maxwell Caulfield) and Jonny Sandwich (Nicolas Colicos) gave gentlemen a newfound swagger. With experienced devilish hands, they toy with these young lovebirds and try to give them a run for their money. Studs in the making, Tommy and Jonny create a very Bondish feel and nearly sent my mum into a hot flush. Bravo chaps!
Personally, my man of the night goes to Simon Lipkin, who played Buddy Rocky and Roy Bacon. Constantly providing comedy gold, he restored the old school beauty of jazz and rock’n’roll. Alongside the skydiving team of flying Elvii, he deserved to shine in the spotlight and recognised for his powerhouse vocals. Having the stage presence and charisma, he is certainly a one to watch.
From the cast to musicians and being in the presence of legendary Jason Robert Brown himself, everyone had hit the jackpot. The production was effortlessly bejazzled. The music was glorious, comedy was perfectly timed, and the enthusiasm to simply give these people (aka us) a good time. You could tell they all were enjoying themselves too and feeding from our applause and standing ovation. Who knew you could smile on a Sunday night?
As a guest of honour and theatre buddy, I had managed to convince my mum that this production was worth staying past our usual bedtime. Luckily, my mum wasn’t sitting in The Garden Of Disappointed Mothers. As soon as the interval lights arrived, her feedback was “This is amazing!” Everyone loves the London Musical Theatre Orchestra and so they should!
Well I showed you my hand and I think it’s time to end this heap of praise for Honeymoon in Vegas…What?…Isn’t That Enough (song puns littered throughout this entire post)?
Find out more about the London Musical Theatre Orchestra here
Thanks to Julie Holman and Madelaine Bennet from Premier PR