Original Book:Michael Stewart
Revised: Francine Pascal
Music and lyrics:Jerry Herman
Reviewer: Zara Ellis
The roaring twenties tap right into Manchester’s Opera House with the production Mack and Mabel. Jerry Herman’s sumptuous score is based on a true story which depicts an unconventional love story set in the 1920s between a movie director (Mack) and a leading lady (Mabel) and her untimely demise in both her personal and professional life.
Legendary theatre actor Michael Ball portrays the stubborn and unromantic character of Sennett and gives the audience a tender moment with the beautiful I Won’t Send You Roses. Rebecca LaChance gives a truly captivating performance as Miss Sennett. Like her leading man, gives an excellent vocal throughout the evening and in the touching Time Heals Everything and she provides the character with great comedy value and charisma, a brilliant performance by both leading actors. The show is packed full of era inducing dance routines and dramatic chorus lines with Tap Your Troubles Away which is almost a show in itself thanks to Stephen Mear’s choreography.
The wardrobe department gives an excellent portrayal of the 1920’s with colourful and original costumes from the era. Setting the stage with comical police costumes with the chaotic Keystone Cops and the bathing beauties who illuminate the stage with all the colours from the rainbow pallet. The set design by Robert Jones is brimming with originality and panache, thrusting visual props into the show, providing the stage with movie clips from the era by using a projector throughout the performance. This gives the show an extra dimension and continuously reinforces the doomed love affair between Mack and Mabel.
Mack and Mabel is a roller-coaster of emotions from highs to lows and then back to laughing and joking again. One consistent quality is that one believes every line in the script and every word sung, as when the finale nears, one thing is for certain; you’ll need your tissues. Quite an emotional watch!
To quote Mack “in the golden era of silent films, that’s when movies were movies” and if they were anything like tonight’s portrayal of that era; who could disagree.
An excellent production, which is a touching tribute to a forgotten era.
Runs until 16 September 2015