She Loves Me is a wonderful musical written by Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick about two pen pals who end up working together in a beautiful department store. However, when they start working together, they begin to resent each other. The show was recently revived on Broadway and I have been listening to the 2016 cast album on Spotify over the last couple of months. The music is absolutely stunning and whimsical. And when I saw that Scarlett Strallen was leading the cast as Amalia in a production in London, this only enhanced my interest in the show.
Compared to the cast album I had listened to, where the cast were American; in this production, the cast use their natural British accents which I wasn’t expecting! Even though the direction choice didn’t take away from the story or anything but suddenly I felt like I was being transported into Selfridge’s, a place I had visited recently!
She Loves Me has a fairly small cast but still manages to weave three storylines within it’s two and a half hour running time. Scarlett Strallen and Mark Umbers soar as Amalia and Georg with their beautiful vocals and wonderful chemistry together. They were both so witty and injected such life into these characters and I can’t get over their fantastic vocals. In particular Scarlett as this was the first show I had seen her in. And I still think about her performance of “Vanilla Ice Cream”. There is fantastic support from the hilarious Katherine Kingsley and Dominic Tighe as Ilona and Stephen. They have a romantic story line of their own, too. I thought they worked together incredibly well as they seem so at ease with each other. Then I found out that they’re married to each other off stage! Both of their solos “Ilona” and “I Resolve” were full of charm and so wonderful to watch.
I also have to mention Callum Howells as Arpad the delivery boy. He was so cheeky and charming to watch. And I was so surprised to see that he’s only 17 years old and has quite the resumé as well! Les Dennis stars as Mr Marachek, the owner of the department store and it was so wonderful to see him in a role that I wouldn’t have expected him to play.
The Menier Chocolate Factory is one of the smaller theatres I’ve been in but this doesn’t stop She Loves Me feeling grand in every way. The stage revolves between the inside & outside of the shop as well as managing to set one scene in a hospital and one scene in Amalia’s bedroom all on one small stage. I absolutely adored this musical, it was every adjective that I have used so far in this post. It’s an absolute delight of a show and I wish I could go back and see it again.
Stay tuned tomorrow for my last post in theatre week which is the 20th anniversary production of Rent!