Wednesday, 18 January 2017

FIVE STAR REVIEW Promises Promises, Southwark Playhouse


IT may be cold and gloomy outside but I guarantee a show now on at the Southwark Playhouse will warm the cockles of your heart and leave you with a glow.
Based on the screenplay The Apartment, Promises Promises features the wonderful and uplifting music by Burt Bacharach.
It tells the story of Chuck Baxter, a junior executive at a New York insurance firm, who is invisible to all around him, in particular the lovely Fran Kubelik.
Despite his best endeavours to impress his boss, JD Sheldrake, Chuck never seems to get noticed. However, a visit to a bar after work one night alters his fortunes. On hearing that he has a mid-town apartment, he suddenly becomes not just noticed by the executive bosses but extremely popular.
And so begins the lending out of his apartment to the various men who use it to entertain their lady friends, in a bid to gain promotion.
To begin with things run smoothly and Chuck eventually is summoned to Sheldrake’s office. It seems Chuck will get the promotion he wants if he allows Sheldrake the exclusive use of his apartment. Little does he know that Sheldrake is using it to woo Fran, with whom he has been having an on off affair for a while.
Of course Chuck finds out about the affair and seeks solace in a bar where he comes across Marge. The two have a hilarious scene where they flirt with each other and get drunk to ease the pain before heading back to Chuck’s apartment.
Fran meanwhile has had just about enough of Sheldrake and his broken promises and takes drastic action to escape.
It is a lovely, bitter sweet romantic comedy with fabulous lyrics by Hal David and of course the gorgeous music by Bacharach and the production here is a toe tapping, joy.
Beautifully directed by Branagh Lagan, it has a top notch cast with Gabriel Vick as Chuck Baxter, who displays more than a passing resemblance to Jack Lemmon who played the character in the film version, and Daisy Maywood as Fran.
It is a delightful pairing and their rendition of I’ll Never Fall In Love Again was heart meltingly good.
Other stand outs include John Guerrasio as Dr Dreyfuss and Alex Young who puts in a scene stealing performance as Marge, the lush with whom Chuck meets in the bar.
Promises Promises is a real treat and will leave you with a warm and fuzzy glow for days to come.

Promises Promises is on at the Southwark Playhouse, Newington Causeway until February 18. Tickets cost £25. Visit  or call the box office on 020 7407 0234.

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