Some Like it Hotter

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Some Like it Hotter

Posted: 17 Jul 2013

The Customs House, South Shields

5 July

 

Going to a fantasy comedy billed as not based on (nor a stage version of) the classic film Some Like It Hot you wonder whether you are going to a dud. Sometimes though you find you are witnessing a gem and this was the best night I’ve had at the theatre for a period measured in years not months.

The gist is that the stars of Some Like It Hot are dead – but still working. Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are in a half-way house which people who have just passed away visit on their way to heaven or hell. The play’s protagonist Charlie has always idolised Marilyn Monroe and gets the chance to meet her. 

In reality the plot line has about as much to do with the night’s enjoyment as the scoring system in many a Radio Four panel game – i.e. none: it’s merely a vehicle to build the show around.

Here the six-strong cast were nothing short of superb. Paul Matania looked and sounded like Tony Curtis while his partner Jack Lemmon played by Daniel Lloyd was similarly excellent.  Good as this duo were, they could only play second fiddle to Sarah Applewood’s mesmerizing Marilyn. 

The fact that Applewood is best known for appearing in a Halifax Building Society TV commercial tells you all you need to know about the sad state of much of Britain’s provincial theatre. Here in a consistently excellent venue with cheap tickets (£14 full price), the start-of-weekend audience could have only marginally crept into three figures. Undaunted, the cast were sharp, funny and evidently multi-talented as all of them also demonstrated their musical prowess as they performed a dozen songs starting with ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and closing with Marilyn testing many a male pacemaker with a pouting ‘I Wanna Be Loved By You.’

I loved this performance. Indeed it was a show to die for.

Rob Mason

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