By Joy Ridgewell
TOPS at the Thameside Theatre have put on another great show. Set in the 1920’s era, when it was a daring thing for any young girl to set out on her own for New York as an aspiring actress, the story centres on the girls that come to New York seeking fame and fortune. The unworldly Millie fall into the hands of an unscrupulous chinese hotel keeper Mrs Meers, played by Vander Mercer, who is involved in the white slave trade.
There was comedy with the two young chinese boys who were helping her to smuggle the girl concerned to be taken out with the laundry and shipped to Hong Kong. Their excuse was to earn money to bring their mother to America. They were brilliant when they sang in chinese with the words on a screen above the stage.
I don’t know if they were singing in that language but they were both singing the same and it was excellent. Several love stories evolved: one new arrival to New York Millie Dillmount (Victoria Purton ) and Jimmy Smith (Matthew Capp) played the lead.
Sue Cawley as Mussy Van Hossmere added glamour with her songs, and everyone in the cast from the stars to the chorus worked their socks off to give a great performance.
The flapper dresses put our modern day styles to shame, they were feminine and colourful, hats and gloves added to their charm.
So different from the raggedy jeans and baggy tee shirts that seem the norm of some of today’s young people.
The music was toe tapping, It was good to see so many young and older people putting on such an entertaining show.
I understand the stage settings were also made by TOPS scene changes and they were performed smoothly and quickly.
Thameside Theatre is a great asset to Grays, you have no need to travel any further to get good and reasonably priced entertainment.