If you are a devotee of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals get yourself along to the giant tent at Edinburgh Academy Junior School and immerse yourself in 90 minutes of good old fashioned schmaltz. Wake up to the world of yesterday when men were “dopes” – a word curiously repeated in some songs – and women were flirty and pretty and dressed nice.
All the old favourites are here from Carousel and Oklahoma, The King and I and South Pacific, through to musicals I didn’t know – Allegro, Pipe Dream, Me and Juliet. It’s a heady mix and elegantly sung by the cast of five.
Anna-Jane Casey is the “broad” of the show, a lean, sassy, athletic type, seemingly all-American but in fact English. Kim Criswell is American and she staged the show based on a concept by Walter Bobbie that linked the songs into a loose boy meets, fancies, loses, marries girl story. Danielle de Niesse is the beautifully voiced third girl, while Damien Humbley and Richard Morrison manfully sing the boy parts with pleasant versatile humour. Backed by the small Edinburgh Festival Ensemble who manage to sound much bigger under the direction of Wayne Marshall on piano, the overall effect is pleasing and lyrical – a Grand Night Out indeed.
The big tent is worth a mention. The socially spaced seating is a wonder to behold, little groups of 2 or 3 seats together interspersed with singletons, all 2 metres apart. The acoustics are surprisingly good, but be warned – even on a nice sunny evening it became chilly. Wear a vest and carry a fleece, set your mind to old-fashioned romantic, and enjoy.
Until Friday August 13th at Edinburgh Academy Junior School.