Betty Blue Eyes - Review by Alice Wordsworth
***** (5 Stars)
Salisbury Playhouse - 30 April, 2014
The new touring production of Betty Blue Eyes provides an evening packed with laughter and wholehearted fun. Don’t be alarmed by the pig on the programme as there is much more to the musical than a puppeteered pig and light-hearted songs!
Set in 1947 post-war Britain, the musical tells the story of a humble chiropodist, Gilbert Chilvers and his ambitious wife, Joyce. The piece deals with the hunger that consumed Britain in the 1940s as rationing continued long after the war. It is not only hunger for food that dominates the thoughts of this small Yorkshire town, as the hunger for social status underpins the actions of the characters. The witty lyrics and catchy melodies mask the darker elements of the script and demonstrate how singing was vital for the upkeep of moral.
The chorus moved seamlessly and the ingenious choreography captivated and wowed the audience. Haydn Oakley found the sensitivity of Gilbert Chilvers and the audience warmed to his nervous disposition and jittery habits which Oakley personified faultlessly. Amy Booth-Steel also embodied Joyce’s vigour and determination for social status, both physically and in her wistful solo number "Nobody".
Although the acting and movement are superb, it is the ingenious script and delightful score that make the evening. The simplicity of the characters who find themselves in outrageously funny circumstances is where the true comedy lies. In no other musical would the audience be so infatuated by a pig, helped of course by the catchy tune of "Betty Blue Eyes", which allows you to fall willingly into this absurd story.
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable evening, with a talented cast and a score that leaves you singing for days.
Betty Blue Eyes is currently on a UK Tour - full info here: http://www.bettyblueeyesthemusical.com/tour/