Review: The Glenn Miller Story

The Glenn Miller Story with Tommy Steele. Picture: contributed
The Glenn Miller Story with Tommy Steele. Picture: contributed
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THE unmistakable sound of the world’s best known Big Band hits are ringing around the Playhouse this week as The Glenn Miller story arrives in the city on the latest stop of its extended UK tour.

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Playhouse, Greenside Place

It has been 71 years since band leader Glenn Miller’s plane disappeared without trace over the English Channel. He was just 40 years old but his unique musical legacy has lived on.

Song and dance legend Tommy Steele takes on the story of the American recording star whose definitive style became the sound track of the 1940s.

It was Miller’s ear for an arrangement and his desire to create his own sound that saw him go on to receive worldwide acclaim and the very first gold disc - awarded for his recording of Chattanooga Choo Choo.

With more than 60 years in show business, Steele is warmly welcomed on stage as he delivers a short prologue before stepping into Miller’s shoes and leading us briskly through the musicians life, from struggling trombonist to household name.

Steele is in fine form, complemented perfectly by Sarah Soetaerta’s strong vocal performance as Miller’s wife Helen, and Ashley Knight as long time friend and cohort Chummy MacGregor.

Bill Deamers excellent choreography is smartly delivered by the supporting ensemble and serves to underline just why Miller’s dance band style was so popular.

A terrific 16-piece band forms the backdrop for act two as the big tunes are expertly rolled out. From Get Happy and Pennsylvania 6-5000 to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and of course, In the Mood, they are all there.

The Glenn Miller Story neatly combines the enduring memory of Miller’s music and the continued audience affection for Steele to produce an enjoyable celebration of song and dance.

Run ends Saturday