The Theatre of Music Hall

Dir: Sean Glock

Reviewer: Nick Le Mesurier

The Theatre of Music Hall is The Loft’s heartfelt tribute to a form that was popular for almost a hundred years and produced some of the biggest stars of the British stage. It’s a rousing, rumbustious romp of a show that features acts and songs whose genius still has resonance today.

This is a show that is, in a sense, about the great acts of the music hall stage. Almost documentary in its form, it features many of the Loft’s distinguished company, amiably led by Robert Lister as our Master of Ceremonies. With more than a nod to The Good Old Days, a TV show that ran for thirty years from 1953, we see before us stars such as Hattie Jacques  (Sue Moore) singing Waiting at the Church, , Ken Dodd (Sean Glock) performing Nicky Nocky Noo, Pat Hayes (Elaine Freeborn) in a spooky resurrection of The Ghost of Sarah Porter, and of course Marie Lloyd (Rachel Adams) singing The Boy I Love, Oh Mr Porter and a host of other smash hits that are part of our cultural DNA. There was also a marvellous tribute to Round the Horne, a radio show that grew out of music hall, and which featured Robert Lowe and Sean Glock as the outrageously camp pair, Julian and Sandy.

In its way, The Theatre of Music Hall is as daring as many a drama we have seen at the Loft, because one might imagine it would appeal only to those of a certain age. Not a bit of it! The audience, which joined in lustily with the songs, was decidedly mixed, proving the Loft’s claim that great entertainment will always cross boundaries.

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