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Wonderful Town, Lyceum

THIS musical starring TV talent contest winner Connie Fisher comes laden with plaudits and rave reviews but before the interval I was wondering why.

Yes, it’s loud, colourful, frenetic and fast-paced and Ms Fisher, after three throat operations, now has what she calls her Galaxy Milk Chocolate voice which is just right for the part. And yes the music is by Leonard Bernstein.

But this is no West Side Story, there’s hardly a tune you can take away to hum and, besides, the heroine doesn’t even get to sing the best songs, the love songs.

And if this is set in Greenwich Village, New York, in 1935, how come there’s a song with lyrics which go “What do you think of JFK, Doris Day?”

However, Wonderful Town can grow on you. In the second half I was warming to it, particularly after a very funny scene involving American Irish policemen, which breaks into an Irish jig, and the reprise of the best song, sung by Connie and her stage sister Eileen (winsomely played by Lucy van Gasse), which goes “Why, oh why, oh why-o, did I leave Ohio?”

Connie Fisher, as the older of two sisters who find their fortune in New York, brings a lot of warmth to her part of a would-be journalist who has to wait a long time to get a job and her man, chisel-featured Michael Xavier.

But this is really an ensemble musical, not a star vehicle, with some enjoyable stagework. I’d still love a hit tune, though.

On until Saturday.

Martin Dawes