Music and Lyrics: Irving Berlin
Book: David Ives and Paul Blake
Director: Ian Talbot
The odds of snowfall on the big day might not be in our favour again this year, but a seat in the audience of Director Ian Talbot’s White Christmas at the Palace Theatre this festive season leaves no chance for disappointment. Snow cascades down onto Oxford Road as you draw up outside the theatre and yuletide tunes fill the foyer, it may be a few weeks until Father Christmas visits, but the festive feels are positively fizzing before you’ve even settled into your seats for this toe-tapping technicolor treat.
Based on the 1954 Paramount Pictures film starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney. Talbot’s White Christmas is definitely one that you’ve been dreaming of. Fans of the classic film and newcomers alike are catapulted into Hollywood’s Golden Age with Michael Taylor’s vivid set and Diego Pitarch’s sumptuous costumes. The kaleidoscopic colours and sharp choreography are a hefty Christmas Dinner for the eyes and you should prepare to emerge feeling stuffed.
With strong vocals, slick moves and confidence (except when it comes to love) Matthew Jeans steps into Crosby’s formidable shoes as Bob Wallace and doesn’t disappoint and Jessica Daley’s outstanding voice is showcased to perfection as love interest Betty Haynes, performed in the original film by Rosemary Clooney. Dan Burton is cheeky and charismatic as ladies man Phil Davies while Emily Langham sparks with energy, commanding the stage as Betty’s sister Judy. Sally Ann Triplett is also a force to be reckoned with as spunky, no-nonsense hotel concierge Martha.
Yes, it’s a bit saccharine in places, and yes everybody falls in love too quickly and conveniently. But Scrooges should park their cynicism at the door, this is exactly what the doctor called for after the last year or so saw us largely shut out of our theatres. Grab yourself a drink from the bar and enjoy being back in the thick of it.
With a watertight chorus and razor precision choreography from Stephen Mear, there’s no weak link to be found in White Christmas’ stellar cast. A tap-dancing dub track that is slightly out of sync with the dancing at times is a minor quibble in a magical show that otherwise doesn’t put a foot out of place.
Runs until Saturday 4 December 2021