At Last It's Summer - London Palladium
Is there an entirely original idea in this ‘new musical’? The musical numbers, presented as they were in concert format, were reminiscent of shows that have been done before, such as patter songs but without the same level of wit as Gilbert and Sullivan ones, even if they have a similar pace, or tunes from Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds’ Salad Days. Over the course of almost two-and-a-half hours (there was an interval), despite the presence of a narrator (Alan Titchmarsh) to hurry things along, the pace of the narrative is painfully slow.
Set in the days of Downton Abbey, there’s a posh birthday party, to which a lot of people have been invited, as it’s a milestone birthday. I just found it incredibly dull, apart from certain scenes which were incredibly silly. The storyline eventually became highly convoluted – deliberately, I presume – in short, most if not all of the older generation of characters had extra-marital affairs (plural), which meant most if not all of the younger characters were not brought up by their biological parents.
Somebody somewhere may or may not have inadvertently indulged in incest as a result of miscellaneous shenanigans, and I couldn’t care less for any of them, young or old: this bunch of entitled, self-important imbeciles with far more money than sense are legends only in their own minds. Everyone sleeping with everyone else has been done before (Aspects of Love, anyone?).
The concert did have some redeeming qualities, in the form of a thirty-five piece orchestra under the direction of Larry Blank, and Kelly Mathieson’s Lady Alice Stanwick and Rob Houchen’s Count Orilov were the standouts in terms of singing vocals. But it is two and a half hours of dull drivel, and without any memorable tunes. "For one night only" - let's hope it stays that way.