Woking Review - November 5th, 2005
Toe-tapping tunes and an abundance of laughs
There was a real buzz at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre for the world premier of the fun new musical Time’s Up from the pen of the great Ray Cooney, with…music by Chris Walker.
In the Chicago of 1929 two rival gangs run the city, and Johnny May is the new kid on the block. In present day Guildford, hot shot lawyer Steven Tancred is having doubts about marrying the boss’s daughter and the general ethics of Pilsworth and Pilsworth
When Steven visits a hypnotherapist to quit smoking and is accidentally regressed to a previous life as reluctant gangster Johnny May, two very different worlds collide.
We swap from the bustling practice in Guildford High Street to a world where gangsters with Tommy guns rule and every guy gets his doll – all to the accompaniment of a feast of toe-tapping tunes and an abundance of laughter.
The musical is directed by master playwright Cooney. The clever set designed by Douglas Heap, is the perfect backdrop to the choreography of Carole Todd and the evocative costumes designed by Bill Butler.
Jody Crosier’s splendid performance in the twin roles of Steven Tancred and Johnny May was pivotal to the show’s success and Jo Gibb, also twinned as gangster’s Moll Ruby Wessler and 21st century counterpart Linda Clarke, was outstanding.
I particularly liked Tiffany Graves’ ice-cool interpretation of Barbara Pilsworth and Jo Cook (Susan Dixon), Paul Bentley (Gregory Pilsworth), Neil Ditt (Jeff Walters), Geoffrey Abbott (Fingers) and Sara Weymouth (Daphne Pilsworth) all did an excellent job in their roles. Julian Littman was suitably sinister in the roles of gangster Bugs Moran and unscrupulous property developer Arnold Robertson.
However, for me and most of the audience I suspect, it was two fairly minor characters who stole the show. I will never forget Tiran Aakel’s hilarious performance as hypnotherapist Dr Patel and Anne Rogers was out of this world as she danced in short yellow Wellingtons as dotty granny Emily Clarke.
Members of the ensemble added much talent and vitality to the performance. Memorable musical numbers included The Monday Morning Meeting, Almost Perfect, The Truth About Ruby, and the exquisite One Of Those Moments. This show is in Guildford until Saturday prior to a West End run, where I am sure it will be a major hit.