Festive 21/22MusicalNorth East & YorkshireReview

She Loves Me – Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Reviewer: Charlotte Broadbent

Book: Joe Masteroff

Music: Jerry Bock

Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick

Based on a play by Miklós László

Director: Robert Hastie

She Loves Me is a lesser known show from the glorious age of Broadway. Upon seeing Robert Hastie’s 2021 production you may well wonder why this show receives such infrequent airing. All of the ingredients are there to create a most charming, warming, elegant and joyful Christmas production. 

Taken from the play Parfumerie by Miklós László, the musical came to be in 1963. Though, this initial play also influenced cinematic adaptations in The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail. When a story is successful you have half of your ingredients, but Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick provide a frothy and captivating score.    

The proud and distinguished Maraczek Parfumerie stands in the centre of the stage. A wonderful opening number as clerks and staff wend their way to work. A picnic is tempting but employment, more so. The team is steered by David Thaxton as Georg Nowack and the beaming shop is run by the charismatic Karl Seth as Zoltan Maraczek. Alex Young arrives as the keen and effervescent Amalia Balash who needs a job and won’t leave until she gets one. Georg and Amalia butt heads immediately, but as we learn they are both currently writing to unknown admirers the audience can enjoy being in on the joke and waiting for these love struck fools to realise what’s in front of them. The stakes are just high enough to provide some movement through the plot, but never so much as to leave the audience in any doubt that we are heading in one direction, to a cosy and pleasing resolution. 

The Crucible warmly welcomes back Alex Young in the role of Amalia Balash. Young has graced the Sheffield stage six times and charmed in the lead in 2019’s Guys and Dolls. She can certainly make herself at home as her exquisite showmanship is the cherry on this abundant cake. Her classical training offers the ideal vocal quality for this 1940’s musical style. Her comic timing enables her to deliver an Amalia who is haughty, witty and warm. She is a delight at the head of the company. Kaisa Hammarlund makes a joy out of the love-struck Ilona Ritter. Andy Coxon is a wonderfully smarmy Steven Kodaly, using a remarkable vocal range and fully exploring the physicality of his role: a star turn. David Thaxton is strong in the role of Georg, although a couple of contemporary inflections can be a little jarring. A lovely performance from Lewis Cornay as Arpad Laszlo.

The set, designed by Ben Stones, is divine. The shop front opens out like a dolls house to reveal the palatial inside. A colour pallet seemingly inspired by Wes Anderson is cheerful and festive, offering more than a soupcon of camp. Some charming prop gags as the seasons change and the city bustle is illuminated offer a playful glimmer of this otherwise pristine setting. Jessica Hung Han Yun has broached new territory with the lighting design exploring all of the tools at her disposal to create an immersive and festive experience.    

Ewan Jones’ choreography is possibly the biggest stand out in this production. The quality is exceptional. In the Café Imperiale seven actors make the stage appear to be fit to burst as they use every inch of space and fill it with explosive movement. World class.   

It’s been a tough time for everyone and if you are in a position to support the arts this season your money would be well spent here. Make sure you buy yourself a vanilla ice cream in the interval and cosy up for a rapturous night of theatre with this classic musical. 

Runs until 15th January 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

A Dazzling Christmas Cracker

The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

Related Articles

One Comment

  1. A fabulous show at the Crucible in Sheffield. Colourful and cheery with amazing dancing and singing. Bits of humour too! A marvellous afternoon of entertainment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button