The Pajama Game by George Abbot & Richard Bissell
The Little Theatre, Leicester. 10 - 15th October
Review by: Paul Towers, 24/8/2015
'an undemanding evening of musical theatre'
The Pajama Game (and yes, that spelling is right) is not a taxing story. If I tell you that the film starred Doris Day you can guess the level of saccharine and hearts and roses.
The story revolves around a labour dispute whereby the workers in a pajama manufacturing factory are up in arms because the management won't give them a 7½c payrise in line with other companies. To complicate things the Grievance Committee head and the new Supervisor fall in love.
While the story might be quite slight the songs are mostly very taxing to perform. There are several standards amongst the soundtrack, namely Hey There, Once A Year Day and Hernando's Hideaway. But most of the rest, and there are a full 21 numbers aside from the overture and ent'act, are very demanding to sing.
The IDOLS (Leicester's Infirmary Dramatic Operatic and Literary Society) have long had a reputation for producing classic standard musicals for the last 60 years as a means of fund raising for various medial causes. So it is no surprise that they have chosen to resurrect this 1950's musical.
The entire cast are incredibly talented and have been working all year for this, their annual offering at The Little Theatre. Jodie Blowfield and Vaughan Ashcroft as Babe and Sid have both the singing voices and stage presence to lead the company while Martin Bell as Hines and Debbie Neath as Mabel have great comic routines together. Jordan Handford as Prez is superbly, creepily pervy.
Unfortunately this great cast was let down by persistent sound issues with microphones not coming on in time and feedback . On top of this the orchestra, which I assume is all amateur and led by experienced Musical Director Tony Rifugiato (who should know better), had a very duff trombone player on the brass section who missed many notes and those he did hit were invariably flat!
Hopefully these problems can be ironed out as the week progresses.
But all in all this is an undemanding evening of musical theatre that comes to us straight from the 50's and thus won't offend your maiden aunt and won't tax your intellect.
Paul Towers http://ptheatre.blogspot.co.uk