Review: Some Like It Hotter, by Richard Hurford, New Wolsey Theatre, until May 25

Some Like It Hotter with Paul Matania as Tony Curtis and Sarah Applewood as Marilyn Monroe

Some Like It Hotter with Paul Matania as Tony Curtis and Sarah Applewood as Marilyn Monroe - Credit: Archant

Review: Some Like It Hotter, by Richard Hurford, New Wolsey Theatre, until May 25

Imagine the scene. You’re freshly arrived in the afterlife and instead of St Peter waiting to greet you at the pearly gates there’s Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe instead. They’re ready to give you The Some Like It Hotter experience before you go to your final rest.

It’s a lovely idea. The three great Hollywood stars are required to spend some time in purgatory, performing a useful service, before being allowed to move on. It’s rather like having to perform community service to pay for a luxury existence in life.

Trapped in an endless loop, they re-enact scenes from their classic movie Some Like It Hot as a means of ferrying the recently departed across a modern-day River Styx.

Their routine is interrupted by the sudden arrival of Red Hot Charlie. Not only is he unexpected, he also appears to have some past history with Marilyn.


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Unlike, the New Wolsey’s recent musical Sugar, this isn’t a straight-forward re-working of the film. Instead it’s a celebration of the timeless appeal of Billy Wilder’s cross-dressing gangster comedy.

All the classic songs from the film, Running Wild, I’m Through With Love and I Wanna Be Loved By You are present but are re-worked into the new plot. There are sequences which recreate scenes from the film but the play works best when it has Charlie talking to Marilyn and the guys about his life.

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Some Like It Hotter works thanks to a quartet of engaging performances from Patrick Bridgman as Charlie, Daniel Lloyd as Jack Lemmon and Paul Matania as Tony Curtis. But Sarah Applewood deserves special praise for not turning Marilyn into a caricature. She actually functions in the play as a believable person rather than a two-dimensional screen icon.

The script by Richard Hurford contains lots of nice ideas and has some great moments but is also rather flabby in places and can do with some pruning. You could easily lose 20 minutes and it wouldn’t hurt the show at all. If you tightened up some of the film reconstruction moments it would throw the focus more onto the new elements, which are the most interesting.

Nevertheless, it remains a wonderful celebration of a timeless film classic.

Andrew Clarke

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