For sheer entertainment value, Me and My Girl delivers the goods with enough glorious singing, groaning puns and tap-happy dancers to win over the most jaded theatre audience. It sure ain't cutting edge, but Hamilton Theatre Inc, delivers a heck of a lot of fun.
In Me and My Girl , written and set in 1930s England, when the gap between rich and poor was as great as it is today, Cockney jokester Bill Snibson is discovered to be the long-lost heir to the Hareford fortune. He'll only collect if he can convince the snobbbies that he can cut the mustard, but good-time Bill is more likely to cut a rug in this hilarious look at a lowbrow import into high society.
John McHenry is sheer delight as the cocky pickpocket Bill, with a pantomime artist's body control and a quick deliver y that really sells the character. When the impeccable John Bond, as a most perfect English butler, Hethersett, offers him a cocktail, "Aperitif, Milord?" Bill counters with, "No thanks, I've got my own!" Later he laments, "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in fo' me!" Bill reacts physically whenever he's spoken to and McHenry's funniest scene features his skill at manipulating a great red cap, trimmed with "vermin."
The main reason that he may never blend into the environs of the stately manor is his love for Sally Smith, his Lambeth Girl, whose first reaction to Hareford hall--"It's bleedin' Ritz!" --says it all, as she stuffs crystal into her handbag. Barbara-Lynn Redpath's Sally has a clear, true voice you could listen to all night long.
When weekends in London are a bore, the posh set head to Hareford Hall, where the Duchess and her family, like the home they live in, are "stately and grand." The tony gang includes Pat Weston as the Duchess, the only one who is pulling for Bill, and Larry Alford as her long-suffering admirer, Sir John Tremayne.
Weston commanded the stage in her big number, The Song of Hareford, as she explained noblesse oblige to her relative, Alford lends solid support as Sir John. Bob Reynolds is a hoot as Sir Jasper, especially in a beguiling hat and cane duet with Redpath in Take It on the Chin.
Ivan Brozic and Jane Hailes play a young, engaged couple who are also spoiled and willful, and both get a chance to shine Hailes makes a sexy, yet unsuccessful, seduction attempt on Bill, in You Would if You Could, and Brozic leads the chorus through a vibrant tap routine in The Sun has Got His Hat On.
Lore Gretsinger as Parchester sings the praises of his role of advisor in his solo, Family Solicitor, and gets the whole hoity-toity lot of them skipping around the room, fluttering white hankies in unison. Hethersett leads the kitchen staff in the syncopated and harmonious An English Gentleman.
With book and lyrics by L. Arthur Rose and Douglas Furber and music by Noel Gray, Me and My Girl features plenty of hummable songs, including the show-stopper (Doing) The Lambeth Walk, which finds the entire cast of 40 on stage for arousing party scene.
Well-known local directors Willard Boudreau and Gary Smith, each with resumes as long as your arm, have caught the spirit, both the optimistic pearly-clad Cockney crew who hail from the wrong side of London, and the haughty family and servants of the upper-crust gentry.
Dance writer Smith choreographs some wonderful moments, like the parade of London folk during the overture. Sharon Reynolds choreographs a number of tap routines and musical director Donna Dunn-Albert keeps the singing sharp.
Beryl Harrison dresses everyone in gorgeous costumes,
particularly the shimmering outfits sexy Jackie keeps appearing
in, which contrast nicely with the bright Kelly green and starched
white of the maids, or the jaunty tennis outfits worn by guests.
Crisp lighting effects by J. David Metcalfe show off the massive yet smoothly manageable set by John Porritt.