Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

Review: Christine The Musical, by Tony Franchi and Marion Wells, CTM Productions, at Mercury Theatre, Colchester, June 26

PUBLISHED: 13:49 29 June 2015 | UPDATED: 13:49 29 June 2015

Ashleigh Cole who plays Christine Keeler during rehearsals for Christine a new musical about Christine Keeler and the Profumo scandal which is being staged at the Colchester Mercury Theatre

Ashleigh Cole who plays Christine Keeler during rehearsals for Christine a new musical about Christine Keeler and the Profumo scandal which is being staged at the Colchester Mercury Theatre

Archant

This new musical starts with a bang – quite literally – as Christine Keeler’s drug pusher boyfriend, fires shots into the air while he rants outside the flat of Harley Street osteopath Dr Stephen Ward.

This show takes us back to a time when the sixties really started to swing. It details the human cost of The Profumo Affair, the greatest scandal of the 20th century.

It mixes historical fact and drama with great skill. The songs fit the era in which they are supposed to exist and rejoice in some witty lyrics which help to give the evening a light-hearted atmosphere so you never feel you are being given a history lesson.

The lyrics and the tone of the songs also give you an opportunity to get inside the heads of the characters and get a feel for their personalities.

The show is set in Murray’s Cabaret Club where Christine and her friend Mandy Rice Davies work as topless dancers.

It was a discreet, late-night supper-club where city dealers, judges, barristers and members of the nobility came to let their hair-down, far away from the disapproving gaze of their loved ones.

When John Profumo enters the club he sings a number which could have been lifted from a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera. Not only is it entertaining but the choice of song tells you something of Profumo himself.

The story is told in flashback with a Fleet Street reporter recalling the events that Christine has just revealed in an interview.

The standard of performance is very high with many of the actors and dancers studying on theatre courses. Ashleigh Cole makes for a sympathetic and strong Christine who contrasts nicely with Angie Diggens’ more worldy-wise Mandy Rice Davies while Kevin Topple gives The Hack a conspiratorial air which works well as he confides in the audience.

Setting the whole show in Murray’s Cabaret Club is a clever move because not only does it allows scenes with the dancing girls to provide variety, but it also means that the action can move on at a necessarily brisk pace.

The scene changes and historical information are provided by large projection screen at the rear of the stage and some well chosen pop hits from the relevant year.

Director Lindsay Lloyd, in conjunction with writers Tony Franchi and Marion Wells, has given the show some real sparkle. It’s a fascinating story and this team really bring it to life with wit and invention.

It will be interesting to see how this well-written and inventive show develops further.

Andrew Clarke

Comments have been disabled on this article.

With the world lurching from one crisis to another, affable comedian Stephen K Amos’ latest thought-provoking show, Bread and Circuses, aims to cheer us up even if he is still tackling some thorny subjects.

Comedy, talks, theatre and art suggestions to suit all tastes across the region over the next seven days

In Women’s Week, the New Wolsey Theatre is celebrating the fact that chief executive Sarah Holmes has made The Stage 100 list of most influential theatre figures. Arts editor Andrew Clarke asks what the award means to her and the company

John Bishop’s back with Winging It, his first national tour in three years. Selling out arenas across the UK, extra dates have been added, including several in Ipsswich and Southend. We found out more.

Have you ever wished that you were born early enough to have been part of Bobby Robson’s FA Cup winning side in May 1978? Well you don’t have to jump aboard the TARDIS or fall through a wormhole in time, you can just audition to take part in a new dance-led reconstruction of Ipswich Town’s history-making victory at Wembley.

Dozens of students are reflecting on the success of their latest show at the Ormiston Sudbury Academy.

Get ready for it, Take That musical The Band visits the Ipswich Regent next year.

This is the second take on the Ealing comedy classic I’ve seen in recent months and my favourite.

The Orchard Players invite you on a magical carpet ride to Peking market where street rat Aladdin’s plans to woo Princess Jasmine are interrupted by the evil Abanazer.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

London Boat Show 2018

cover

Click here to view
London Boat
Show supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24