Stagecraft: Libretto : Performance
Producer Bill Kenwright, & the inimitable Tommy Steele are pals. They get together once or twice a year for food, & in a recent version of this soiree Bill blagged Tommy to become don the mask of Glenn Miller, despite Tommy’s protestations that he was a pensioner from a Bermondsey, & not the young, slick big-band genius from America. But friendship is friendship & so The Glenn Miller Story was born.
There is not all the much to say about this musical. It is pretty average fare – Miller’s life story – which only touches the definition of ‘entertainment’ with some rather marvelous set-pieces from the Miller repetoire, conducted with pezzazz by the chorus. Inbetween the action is a little insipid & Steele does an OK job, but is completely miscast as Miller. Watching his romance with Sarah Soeteart’s Helen Burger is a bit cringey actually, with them being several decades apart.
This is definitely one for the elder generation, who should love it for what it is. But on the final curtain I got the feeling somewhat that Mr Kenwright was probably a bit too drunk that London lunch where the germseed of this musical was planted.
Reviewer : Damo Bullen