Thoroughly marvellous Millie

Thoroughly Modern Millie, Appeal Theatre Group, New Wolsey Theatre, until July 11

Thoroughly Modern Millie, Appeal Theatre Group, New Wolsey Theatre, until July 11

This comedy musical is a frothy confection that aims to entertain and Appeal Theatre Group did just that.

Set in New York in the Roaring Twenties, the story begins with our heroine, Millie, arriving in the Big Apple in search of a job and a bob. The haircut is easy; finding a job more difficult.

She moves into the Priscilla Hotel for young ladies where the proprietor Mrs Meers, who appears to be Chinese, is actually an all-American ex-con running a white slave trade operation, picking off orphaned young women to sell abroad.

Mrs Meers has coerced two innocent Chinese guys into helping her.

So far, so daft.

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Meanwhile Millie sets her sights on her new boss and makes friends with Dorothy and falls in love with Jimmy.

On the way to a happy ending - although for those who saw the original film with Julie Andrews there's a surprising and splendid twist in the tail - there's lots of singing, dancing, comedy and fun.

A strong cast of principals was led by Clare Dungey who was a thoroughly marvellous Millie, especially at full throttle in the showstopper number Gimme Gimme. Robust in support were David Jones as Jimmy, Jane Robinson as Dorothy and Stephen Lawrence, who gave us some delicious moments as Millie's boss Mr Graydon.

Jan Needle's performance as Mrs Meers was truly memorable, getting some of the best laughs of the evening as she veered between brash American and solicitous Chinese.

Lisa Whiting was a fine Muzzy Van-Heusen - a famous singer and heiress who offers Millie advice - and special mention must to go to Lee Egerton and Ryan Conway who, as Ching Ho and Bun Foo, spoke in Mandarin most of the time. I'd walk a million miles to hear them sing Mammy again.

The set was effective and the orchestra, under the baton of Jo King, delivered the music with enormous panache, and Suzanne Lowe's choreography did much to evoke the era.

Lynne Mortimer