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OKLAHOMA

27-05-2010

Oklahoma

The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is at the Alex in Birmingham until Saturday. Terry Wills goes wild for the wild west.

Whenever one of the most popular musicals of all time makes a return to the theatre it carries a unarguable trademark - at least if you appreciate songs, vocals, dancing, energy and humour - "This is the show for you".

It's set in the Wild West and tells of two budding romances - the main one between Curley and Laurey, an ideally suited couple. Without a shadow of a doubt, their relationship must lead to a 'marriage made in heaven'. But there is a shadow, and a large one at that, in the shape of Jud Fry who makes it clear that he, not Curley, should be her first choice.

Sinister? you'd better believe it!

A secondary love triangle involving dim-witted cowboy Will and Ali, both vying for the affections of Ado Annie (the girl that 'cain't say no' ) is in direct contrast to the Curley and Laurey plot - their 'bumbling' attempts at seduction frequently leave the audience laughing out loud as in turn they attempt to convince Annie they should be her first choice.

It's difficult to find fault with Oaklahoma - the fact that it's record on Broadway is virtually second to none, proves it's up there with the best that other producers can offer.

All of the cast display a real sense of enjoyment. Marc Evans and Gemma Sutton are excellent alongside veteran Marti Webb, who plays Aunt Eller, the one individual capable of keeping everyone else under control.

Vas Constanti's comic role is also a joy but if i had to choose the 'star' of the show iId plump for Michelle Crook - a sheer delight.

The dancing itself is convincing, whether it be high kicking, heel clicking, scenes, to the constrasting 'dark' ballet scenario where Laurey faces her ultimate nightmare - being pursued by Jud Fry.

Peter Gallager is Jud and throughout he's a convincing menace who must be avoided at all costs.

Lots of great songs starting with 'Oh What A Beautiful Morning', moving on to the likes of 'People Will Say We're In Love' before the whole ensemble inevitably reprise the title song.

Yes, another old time favourite, and one which will surely have Alex audiences enjoying a production that lives up to that trademark - This is, indeed, 'the show for you"

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