Nostalgia is having a resurgence right now, especially in London’s West End theatres. The Pajama Game, is currently running at The Shaftsbury Theatre in a revival so escapist and feel-good that theatregoers might think they are dreaming.
The show opens on the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory where we meet the new superintendent played by Dan Burton (understudy to Michael Xavier). The plot is simple: the factory workers want a 7 1/2 cent raise and the tight-fisted owner Mr Hasler won’t let them have it. Babe Williams, played by Joanna Riding, is on the side of the workers and Superintendent Sid Sorokin (Burton) is on the side of the authority, a conflict that would be easily resolved if it wasn’t for the complication of romance.
The romantic storyline is quick to get started and is well and truly established in the first act. The contrast between the feisty Babe and the sweet, charming Sid, is what makes their relationship so explosive.
The ‘light’ plot was made up for by the laughter heard throughout the auditorium. Jennie Dale is particularly witty as Mae and Claire Machin is scene stealing as Mable in ‘I’ll Never Be Jealous Again’.
Based on the novel 7 1/2 Cents by Richard Bissell, the 1957 film stared Yours favourite Doris Day as Babe. The most well known name in this production is Gary Wilmot (playing Hines the time and motion man, until September 13). Known for his leading roles in Half a Sixpence and Chicago he has taken a step back in this production to take a more supporting role. However, due to his knife-throwing act you certainly won’t forget that he was in the production.
The big dance numbers are truly breathtaking and executed with style by the company. ‘Once-a-Year-Day’ will have you tapping along, as will the most recognisable tune ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’. The main Fosse-style number ‘Steam Heat’ certainly turns up the temperature at the opening of the second half and gives a taste of the fun that is in store during the second act.
The production transferred from a successful run at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2013 and is full of Fifties fun. It is currently running in London until September 13. One thing’s for certain, the production isn’t all going in one ear and out the other, you’ll be humming the tunes for days. Catch it while you can.
To find out more or book your tickets visit www.thepajamagamethemusical.com
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You can watch the trailer for the show here: