Social Media

White Christmas - Nottingham (2022) Review

Snow business is back in town as Curve's hit production of White Christmas returns on a short tour around the festive season.

Monique Young 'Judy Haynes', Lorna Luft 'Martha Watson' and Jessica Daley 'Betty Haynes'. Photo by Ellie Kurttz

The production which began life at the Leicester venue in 2018 before transferring to London's Dominion Theatre in 2019 and a tour in 2021 now returns for 2022 with a new director at the helm. Ian Talbot steps into the hot seat of Nikolai Foster's and the production remains as slick and as delighting as ever.

The show is based on the classic movie and follows two army veterans, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, who form a showbiz duo. On the search for a new act, they discover The Haynes sisters and instant bonds are created. Plans are quickly hatched that Phil and Bob will follow the sisters to Pine Tree, Vermont, for their engagement at an inn there. They arrive to find the inn heavily in debt but owned by their own old army general and they begin to plan a show that will save the inn in time for Christmas.

David Ives and Paul Blake's adaptation is faithful to the original movie but makes the stage adaptation its own vehicle. It's full all the feelings you'd want at this time of you. The central themes of love, friendship and the magic of theatre ring true and allow for a delighting of escapism. 

Irving Berlin's score is full of outstanding numbers that sizzle when played by the 7 piece orchestra under the musical direction of Ben Van Tienen. Berlin's writing is luscious and beautifully crafted. The title number is rightfully a snow-filled finale but every number is superb especially when it's paired with Stephen Mear's outstanding choreography. Mear brings old-school charm to his movement, clearly inspired by the Broadway of yesteryear. The ensemble numbers are lavish and perfectly performed by the company. The tap dancing 'I Love A Piano' at the top of act two is a real highlight.

Jay McGuiness takes on the role of Bob Wallace. Initially, he appears a little nervous but becomes more confident as the show goes on. He moves tremendously and largely is vocally assured proving his vocal capability in the lovely 'Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep'. Dan Burton reprises his performance of Phil Davis and proves that he is truly a modern-day Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire. Burton is a real song and dance man it oozes in his performance. His movement and vocals are fantastic.

Dan Burton 'Phil Davis' and Monique Young 'Judy Haynes' with the cast of White Christmas. Photo by Ellie Kurttz

Jessica Daley is beautiful to watch in every role and once again proves her talent and warmth as Betty Haynes. Daley bounces off McGuiness well creating a central relationship that ties the plot along especially as Betty thinks Bob is scheming behind the General's back. Monique Young originated the role of Judy Haynes at the Curve and returns to the show and like Burton, she is showbiz defined. Balancing comedy, charm, vocals, and movement with ease. 

If you've thought the old-school Broadway ended there then you'd be wrong as Lorna Luft plays Martha Watson, the concierge at the inn. Luft is simply amazing to watch and her vocals are quite extraordinary. Michael Starke is rightly commanding as General Waverly but shows more than a little heart too. Lucy Warway has a sweet presence as young Susan Waverly.

The ensemble are magnificent, especially in those aforementioned dance routines which are nailed by all on stage but for a show called White Christmas, the lack of diversity is very apparent. The one person of colour in the cast, Sadie-Jean Shirley, sadly had to go off after the first couple of numbers meaning Christmas truly was white. In 2022 you'd like to think casting would be more diverse. Though credit to Ashton Harkness who seamlessly took over the role of Rita.

Michael Taylor's design excellently sets the stage for the show, from the studios of the Ed Sullivan show to the downtrodden barn the ensemble finds themself rehearsing in. It's effectively brought to life especially paired with Mark Henderson's lighting design. Henderson captures the mood well, especially the use of a large moon at the back of the stage which makes a great backdrop for some of the scenes. 

Undoubtedly White Christmas is a festive spectacular of feel-good joy. The perfect show for this time of year. It feels very old-school classic theatre and is like cream or custard to a mince pie it is a marvellous accompaniment to the season. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

White Christmas plays at Nottingham's Theatre Royal until Saturday 26th November 2022. The show then plays at Sunderland Empire from 28th November to 3rd December and at Liverpool Empire from 6th December to 31st December 2022. Visit for tickets.

The Company of White Christmas. Photo by Ellie Kurttz

Post a Comment


Theme by STS