Review 42nd Street, Wales Millennium Centre by Tracey Robinson

Jazz hands and happy feet, an exuberant, joyful, uplifting, seam of bright positivity runs through 42nd Street, originally a book and film dating from the midst of the Great Depression. A musical within a musical is a celebration of show business, it hints at the era’s economic atmosphere. 

The iconic show, with tunes such as “We’re In The Money” and “Lullaby Of Broadway”, tells the tale of a young aspiring performer, Peggy Sawyer, played by Rhianna Dorris, straight off the Greyhound bus from small-town Pennsylvania, she has wound up in New York City with only 40 cents in her purse, and there’s talk of skipping meals and breadlines, she’s aiming to make her dreams a reality, she longs to see her name in lights.

Stumbling into big-time director Julian Marsh, played by Michael Praed, and catching the eye of Billy Lawlor, she’s asked to join the chorus line of Pretty Lady, the latest musical to make it to Broadway. Unexpectedly she soon gets her chance at stardom, as leading-lady Dorothy Brock (who’s a nightmare to work with) is injured and Peggy finds herself thrust into the limelight, taking centre stage. The whole cast are superb, all strong characters, with amazing voices, working together as one to create a spectacular show. The character of leading lady Dorothy Brock (played superbly by Samantha Womack) certainly demonstrated incredible vocals. 

But, in my opinion, the real star of the show was the overall production – Robert Jones’ set and costumes are clearly fantastic. Utilising lighting and projectors to great effect. A lot of money and a lot of time has been spent making this production look as amazing as possible. The clever use of curtains allows us to see backstage as the production is happening, and other musical numbers like Shadow Waltz and 42nd Street have a very simple but incredible set design that really helps them stand out. 

Les Dennis and Faye Tozer are hilarious, they have great chemistry, a perfect comedy double act. Michael Praeds’ solo numbers are wonderful, he plays a very charismatic character. The leads are all outstanding, a plethora of household names, with years of experience on stage and screen“42nd Street” is a show that doesn’t come around too often. If you’re nostalgic over the era of Gene Kelly and Singing in the Rain then this is the show for you – and if you just love musicals, you won’t go wrong with this glitter-dazzling, tap-dancing delight!

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