Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at Regents Park Open Air Theatre

This less well known musical was put on in the Regents Park Open Air Theatre recently to great affect. Never before has a theatre setting so perfectly suited the show itself. The aisles in the arena made for perfect mountain paths allowing the characters to cross from one side to the other. The wooden- framed stage stood out perfectly in front of a canopy of trees. Yes, this was the Ginger Wig’s first trip to Regents Park Open Air Theatre and it certainly won’t be the last.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is, we must say, slightly dated. After all, it is about one man going into town to procure himself a wife. He achieves said goal without mentioning his six brothers. What ensues is a crash-course in  civilising a group of swamp-beast brothers transforming them into handy dandy charming farmboys, in order to woo the girls of the town. Circumstances prevent successful courtship and so what follows is a mission not dissimilar to the ‘Rape of the Sabine Women’. Of course no one really minds in the end, apart from Milly and Adam, the two leads, who eventually sort out their beef and have a baby. Old fashioned? Just a tad…

A young cast was on display at the Open Air Theatre and, boy, did they bring their A-game. The energy on display was non-stop as they performed some incredible dance routines and numbers. Alastair David to thank here for his remarkable choreography.

Alex Guamond was terrific as the eldest brother Adam, leading his brothers into that daring and downright cheeky kidnapping of the six towns girls. Laura Pitt-Pulford was in fine form as the indomitable Milly, tasked with the terrible job of sorting Adam’s brothers out.

A note on the audience for a our particularly show, as we had quite a pair either side of us. During one very old fashioned jibe from Adam, on a ‘women’s place’, one Sir Bufton Tufton behind us applauded loudly, to some wry titters and assorted scowls. Whist on the other side of us, a lagered-up tattooed gentlemen, with a look of sheer insanity, lobbed a cork down to the front rows, hitting a girl on the back of the head.

Maybe during the incredible avalanche scene these two particular patrons could have just been swept away with the snow. Not to bother, overall this was an absolute triumph. Musical theatre delivered absolutely perfectly. Comedy, action, laughs, and entertainment and some fine musical numbers and dance sequences. Congratulations to Rachel Kavanaugh for this wonderful revival. And indeed to those two forgotten composers Saul Chapman and Gene de Paul who wrote the music for this piece. They too must be congratulated.

Highlight of the show – Undoubtedly the Lament (or Polecat Song) unique in style to the rest of the music, performed in perfect harmony by all of the brothers.

WIGS 5/5

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