Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at New WimbledonCultureTheatre
After rave reviews in the US, acclaimed director and choreographer Patti Colombo has translated an American classic for the British stage. Set in Oregon in 1850, the musical centres on Adam Pontipee’s (Sam Attwater) search for a wife. Adam woos sassy Milly (Helena Blackman) into marriage and moves her to his cabin where she is confronted with his six backward brothers. In the hope they’ll find wives of their own and move out, Milly transforms the brothers into gentlemen. But Adam has his own ideas about love and, inspired by the myth of the Sabine women on which the musical is based, convinces his brothers that the best way to snare a wife is by kidnap.
Attwater (of EastEnders and Dancing on Ice) brings a touch of brooding masculinity to a sea of bright costumes and glossy dance routines, while Blackman (runner-up on How to Solve a Problem like Maria) outshines the rest of the cast with her angelic, yet powerful vocals. Sadly the chemistry between the two never really flourishes and the gravity of their fragile situation is far from explored. The real draw to Seven Brides is the choreography, particularly in the social dance scene where the entire cast take part in a complex weave of lifts, leaps and fancy footwork that had the entire audience in awe.
The array of catchy, upbeat musical numbers from musical director Bruce Knight could not fail to create a feel-good atmosphere. With a different score, less jovial dancing and fewer comedic interludes this is a production that could be solemn at its core, bearing in mind that the story is adapted from a Roman myth about abduction and rape. Despite this and the lack of chemistry between the leads, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is an audience-pleasing whirlwind of a musical, beginning and ending in a flurry of bonnets, britches and bloomers.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is on at New Wimbledon Theatre until 12th October 2013, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch Michael Kidd discuss the conception of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers here: