She Loves Me Review: Chichester Festival 2011

Dianne Pilkington and Joe McFadden (Image by Catherine Ashmore)

“It’s a charming revival performed by a very talented cast.”

She Loves Me is a ‘witty and warm-hearted’ musical. The story of Georg and Amalia, assistants in a 1930’s parfumerie. They dislike each other and constantly squabble. They both find comfort in the romantic anonymous letters they write, not knowing that each is the other’s corresponent.

She Loves Me originally played on Broadway but has had success in the West End too. She Loves Me witty book is by Joe Masteroff with lovely lyrics by Sheldon Harnick.  Jerry Bock’s score is beautiful, but I have to say not as memorable as some other shows. The production is now showing in the Minerva Studio at Chichester Festival. It’s a charming revival performed by a very talented cast with direction and choreography by Stephen Mear. The set is beautiful designed by Antony Ward. The front of the glass parfumerie was stunning and looked classy. The revolves were used well in such a small space.

Joe McFadden as Georg Nowack was incredibly sweet, portraying Georg’s good nature very well. He has a good singing voice and his acting was a joy to watch. Dianne Pilkington’s Amalia Balash was so funny and I  love to hear her sing so beautifully as she always does. Dianne is, in my opinion, a great actress. She captured the emotions Amalia went through wonderfully from frustration, banter with a colleague,  being in love and being hurt perfectly.

Jack Chissick as Mr Maraczek was good fun and a very expressive actor. He delivered some wonderfully witty lines with perfect comic timing. Matthew Goodgame as Steven Kodaly was very smarmy, capturing the character’s personality well.  Annette McLaughlin also stood out as Ilona Ritter. She had a powerful singing voice and delivered her solo ‘A Trip To The Library’ very comedically.

The ensemble do not have as much work to do in this production, but when they are on they give strong performances in singing and dancing. The four customers in the parfumerie are played by Charlotte Harwood, Amanda Minihan, Amy Ellen Richardson and Danielle Morris. Their vocals were beautiful and blended well with one another.  Gavin McCluskey played Arpad Laszio, the delivery boy very sweetly and his voice was pleasant to listen to. Lee Ormsby and Joshua Lay were amusing in a cafe scene where Amalia goes to meet her anonymous letter writer. This scene also included some fantastic dancing from the ensemble mentioned and Joseph Prouse, Zak Nemorin and Brenda Jane Newhouse. I particularly found myself drawn to Joseph Prouse who is an incredibly expressive actor.

She Loves Me is a charming musical, although the songs aren’t as memorable as some other musicals, it is still a lovely show to watch. The cast are very talented, Stephen Mear has done a wonderful job with his first directing piece.

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