Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of our great classic musicals. In the same way that we make allowances for elderly grandparents that creak and moan and take their time to get anywhere so too do we for these old time greats. These allowances only go so far though. Old and creaky is one thing, amateur and dull as dishwater is quite another.
This remarkably poor production is limping around the country, fleecing people of their hard earned cash as they go. Set upon a stage that could have come out of any local community centre with a cast of predominantly inexperienced young things we are subjected to the biggest load of tripe and drivel that I have seen for a long time.
Sam Attwater plays Adam Pontipee, a man that despite his backward ways should still ooze some form of sex appeal and magnetism that justifies him whisking Milly (Helena Blackman) off her feet and marrying him at the drop of a hat. Attwater has the personality of a wet sponge with an unimpressive voice to match. He looks barely older than any of his brothers despite being the man that is supposed to be the head of the family.
Blackman is more engaging and makes a sterling effort at making something out of this mess. Her voice at times grates but she does also have moments when it sits quite happily and can be enjoyed. The rest of the ensemble are all unmemorable and only really reach anything close to impressive during the big set piece towards the end of the first act when they dance themselves to a frenzy at the Social Dance.
Patti Colombo’s direction and choreography manages to miss all of the comedy as well as the tenderness in some of the quieter moments. As with many of the old classics there is plenty of light and shade in this musical that can be explored and used. At no point do you get the feeling that there is thought put into characterisation or motivation here. Rattling through the songs and screeching your way through the text is not good enough.