Review: That’s Entertainment

Jane McDonald
Jane McDonald
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I ALWAYS say, nothing screams ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’ like a Cock-er-ney knees-up from Pearly Kings and Queens. My Old Man’s a Dustman, I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts - how I love to hear Garland and Astaire sing them oh-so-gaily in the films of the Forties and Fifties...

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Playhouse, Greenside Place

Touring ‘extravaganza’ That’s Entertainment has a promising brief - production numbers from the Golden Age of Hollywood delivered by an ensemble cast, with guest stars popping in and out depending on location.

Trouble is, it doesn’t stick to it. Playhouse special guest Jane McDonald is brilliant at her schtick - Northern England lass with a big voice and bigger heart, thrilled if the fans sing along - but she’s in the wrong show. Specifically, she’s in her own, where Burt Bacharach and Tony Hatch also dwell.

McDonald can belt out the likes of Do You Know the Way to San Jose? or Downtown with the best of ‘em, but it’s not what we’re there for.

And Pearly Kings and Queens? In a Hollywood show visiting Edinburgh? Inviting us to sing along with Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner?

Happily, we did get some actual showtunes, from a cast of young singers and dancers led by Simon Schofield and Loula Geater, and they were stunning, with their glitzy outfits and slick routines.

Good Morning and I Got Rhythm were pure joy, while A Couple of Swells was a hoot and It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) a hi-octane delight.

Carousel and South Pacific medleys were sweet, rousing and funny by turns.

A Rat Pack medley featuring the likes of That’s Life and The Candyman was tuneful if tenous, typical of a production that refuses to settle on what it wants to be.

Run ends tomorrow