REVIEW: WHEN MIDNIGHT STRIKES (Drayton Arms Theatre) ★★★

When Midnight Strikes, a musical by Charles Miller and Kevin Hammond, premiered at the Finborough Theatre in 2007 starring future Wicked alumni Emma Hatton and Shona White. Ten years later, the show is being revived at The Drayton Arms Theatre and I went along to check it out.

More often than not in reviews I find myself saying “the cast can’t be faulted, they did the best they could with the material they had to work with” but this is a rare occasion in which the opposite is true. When Midnight Strikes is a good musical, with an exciting who-dunnit story, where you are kept wondering who he has been having the affair with until the very end. The songs cover a wide range of styles and are very much up there with Sondheim. Unfortunately the acting and singing in this production were very much am-dram. The American accents weren’t great from any of the cast and it all looked a bit like a school play. Vocally it wasn’t awful but having heard the original cast recording with the previously mentioned Wicked power house performers, there was so much more than could have been done with the songs and all felt a bit safe and boring.

The set design by Victoria Francis and projections by J. Mark Pim were some of the best I have seen in fringe theatre. The New York City skyline and socialist apartment looked incredibly realistic (although it niggled at me why they had to constantly use the phone intercom to buzz people in to the apartment when they were obviously just outside the door).

All things considered I really enjoyed When Midnight Strikes and would definitely like to see it again with a stronger cast as there is so much potential that was sadly not achieved with this production.

Reviewed by West End Wilma