A show based upon the short story The Sobbin’ Women by Stephen Vincent Benet, itself based upon the Roman myth of the rape of the Sabine women, wouldn’t appear to be the basis for an ideal night’s musical entertainment, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The classic Seven Brides for Seven Brothers running this week at the King’s Theatre is a good old-fashioned, high-energy romp of the highest quality.
Backwoods boy Adam Pontipee (Sam Attwater) comes to town to find a wife, in a few short hours he meets and marries the orphaned Millie (Helena Blackman), a sparky gal with a dream of a better life. Adam takes Millie to his mountain home where she finds that she and her new husband are not alone, Adam’s six uncouth and unkempt little brothers live there too. Millie sets about making the best of her lot and the best of her new family, turning them into eligible young men.
There are of course a few ups and downs in this country idyll but it isn’t the slight plot that drives this show, rather the highly intricate and beautifully executed dance routines choreographed by Patti Colombo, chief amongst them the glorious ‘Social Dance’. The cast have to be commended for the athleticism, energy and commitment they bring to the piece. Helena Blackman has a top-notch voice worthy of any West End stage and whilst Sam Attwater’s voice lacks a bit of belt it is highly melodic with a beautiful tone that’s easy on the ear. Much of the cast are fresh from stage school and a few leave an excellent impression: Sam Stones delivers a nice comic turn as wayward brother Frank and Pip Hersee as Ephraim is a fine dancer. The male ensemble too are of uniformly excellent quality and the sound the male cast members make when they sing as one is a treat for the ears. If one criticism has to be levelled at the performance then it is the poor diction of many of the cast which renders much of the dialogue incomprehensible.
Praise must also go to the set design by Anna Louizo, complemented by Nick Richings atmospheric lighting which is nicely evocative of 19th Century Oregon, there’s a town, a log cabin, a pine forest and even an avalanche thrown in for good measure.
This may be an old-fashioned romp but this timeless classic could never be accused of being out of date. Thoroughly entertaining, highly recommended – as good as it ever was.
Runs until Saturday at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow