The Landor is a wonderfully intimate venue and is currently showing a sparkling rendition of the musical-comedy She Loves Me. Last put on in the West-End in 1994 to critical acclaim, the fifty year old musical has found a new home in the Landor and will delight all fans of Rom-Coms and of the musical.
The play follows the staff of a small perfurmary as they go about falling in and out of love with each other. The two leads, George Nowack (played by John Sandberg) and Amalia (played by Charlotte Jaconelli) are constantly at odds while blissfully unaware that they have already met as pen pals through a Lonely Hearts ad. John and Charlotte are good seperately, but shine when with each other. They have a great chemistry both as the bickering co-workers and as newly minted ‘special friends’.
The supporting cast deliver their parts wonderfully, taking the rather two-dimensional characters and making them feel more like real people. David Herzog embodies the family man Ladislav Spos, a much more important character than he first appears. The suave Steven Kodaly is portrayed by an irresistable Matthew Wellman who manages to inject a slight feel of menace into the ladies man and Joshua LeClair does a great job as the aspiring and innocent delivery boy Arpad Lazlo.
Ian Dring plays the nigh-perfect Mr. Maraczek (and also another part that should remain a surprise). The shop-owner is both grumpy and charming, demanding and loving of his staff. His wife remains unseen throughout the play even if his relationship with her is one of the more memorable in the play.
For a fringe show the production is incredibly high-value. David Shields‘ designs a diverse and colourful set which makes the most of the limited space available, setting the joyful tone that runs throughout. It is slightly unclear from the set and lovely costumes where and when exactly the play is set, it is a self-contained world somewhere in the past which would be great to live in.
Musical Director Ian Vince does with a small band what was once done with a full orchestra. He makes the music sound fresh and even though almost all the songs feel a bit long, listening to them is a joy. The cast are all great singers and Vince gets the best out of them, especially the two leads.
Ultimately this play is not a great drama or even a revolutanary musical. There is however something endearing about the story of the little perfumary, which has inspired several plays and movies to be based on it. As a funny romanance this production is spot on and I‘d be shocked if it does not go somewhere bigger at the end of the current run. Wether it will work as well without the intimacy of the Landor is another discussion entirely. 3.5/5
Review written by Ingimar Sverrisson.
She Loves Me is currently showing at the Landor Theatre until Saturday 7th March. For more information on the production, visit here…
For the interview with cast member Charlotte Jaconelli, visit here…