First seen at the Chichester Festival Theatre last year, The Pyjama Game opened in the West End for a strictly limited season. I saw it last week with a couple of friends and it was the perfect end to a very busy day. You didn’t have to think too hard, it was sweet, nice and entertaining.
Directed by Richard Eyre (Ghosts, The Judas Kiss) The Pyjama Game is based on a book called
7½ cents by Richard Bissell and focuses on newly appointed superintendent Sid Sorokin Michael Xavier (Love Story, Into the Woods) and his love interest, Babe Williams, Joanna Riding (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Stephen Ward) who just so happens to be the Union Rep at the Pyjama making factory where they both work. Babe has a huge conflict of interest when management refuse their request for a 7½ cent raise in line with the national average which threatens their relationship. However in good old, very predictable 1950s musical fashion, all turns out well in the end.
The plot is easy on the brain and although it drags in parts (the company picnic left me cold) and there is far too much kissing (yes we get the picture – you fancy each other) it does transport you back in time to when everything has a happy ending and the most important part of the musical are the numbers. Each tune by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross is memorable and sticks in your head like glue. Every song, from the tango ‘Hernando’s Hideway’ to the sassy ‘Steam Heat’, to the ballad ‘Hey There’ certainly sends you home humming.
Michael Xavier looks at home in the role in the part as the dashing superintendent with the ever versatile Joanna Riding at his side. The supporting cast was slick with my personal favourites being the wonderful Gary Wilmot (yes I saw him in Me and My girl as well as Robert Lindsay) and Claire Machin who had us in hysterics as singing their duet ‘I’ll never be jealous again’.
The Pyjama Game will appeal to you if you like vintage musicals, frothy, fun and not to be taken seriously. Catch it soon as it closes on Sept 13th to make way for Memphis the Musical. Tickets are available and you can purchase top price seats for £31.50.
By the way did I say that those songs certainly stick in your head.
Currently booking until 13th Sept 2014.
Playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre: 210 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8DP
Performances are 7.30pm each evening except Sunday.
Matinees 3.00pm Wednesday and Saturday.
Nearest tube Tottenham Court Road
Don’t take my word for it. Here is what the critics thought:
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