As I write, I am looking out on a snow covered garden and genuinely wondering if this year we might actually have a white Christmas which is something I’ve longed for years!
On Wednesday night I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the Liverpool Empire on a mother, daughter double date to see the musical, White Christmas.
My mum had called to cancel that afternoon “It’s cold, dark and wet and I just can’t be bothered.” With a bit of cajolling, encouragement and the promise of a lift as opposed to coming on the train she rallied!
When were greeted at the door with a flurry of (fake) snow and a mulled wine she was sold! Against the backdrop of the markets and the beautifully lit St George’s Hall the scene was set for a wonderful night. The costumes, music and set provided gorgeous nostalgia and a trip down memory lane for those of a certain age.
White Christmas is a musical based on the 1954 film staring Bing Crosby and transports the audience back to a different and simpler time. The opening scene introduces Bob Wallace (The Wanted’s Jay McGuiness) and Phil Davis (former Olivier award nominee Dan Burton) who are serving in the war entertaining their comrades on Christmas Eve with their singing routines. Fast forward a few years, the war is over and the pair have since become a much-loved performing double act.
Their former commander General Henry Waverly (Michael Starke- or Brooksides Sinbad for those of us wishing it has never been cancelled) has run into financial difficulty, his inn is in trouble and the two friends have the chance to help get him back on his feet with the help of glamorous and talented sisters Betty Haynes (Jessica Daley) and Judy Haynes (Monique Young).
The principal pairs– made famous in the film by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen – are well cast and decent in their roles. Watchable but lacking wow.
The story has been simplified and slightly truncated to fit with average show running times; I would have enjoyed more exploration of Lorna Loft and General Waverley’s friendship (it’s like we’re married- lots of fighting, no sex) and at time’s things felt a little rushed or lacking context but no matter, the singing and dancing and stunning set does exactly what you’d expect; makes you all warm, fuzzy and full of excitement for the season.
The highlight for me was the I Love a Piano scene. A fun and fabulous song and dance number and I’d have liked to see more of that joy and energy through the rest of the show. Don’t be mistaken, it was a really lovely evening and, overall the show was very good but, for me, someone who is spoilt with regular trips to the theatre, being brutal, I’ve seen better. It was beautiful and glamorous with an excellent cast and perfect sets but I still felt it was lacking that extra something special that sets shows apart and, had I taken my girls (9 and 11) I don’t think they’d have got much out of it.
On balance I’d say it is a safe 7/10 (for context, Dreamgirls which lands in January is a solid 11). My date on the other hand was out of her seat along with my friend and her mum giving a standing ovation and that was more than enough for me.
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.