Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Rating ****
Reviewed by Roz Carter

New Wimbledon Theatre

I have a secret to confess. Before seeing the show, I had absolutely no idea what Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was about. I knew the basics. It was a cowboy musical. It was… a musical about Cowboys. And that’s about as far as I got. What I wasn’t prepared for is nearing 3 hours of pure musical theatre fun!

In case you’re like me and you don’t particularly know your Lloyd- Webber from your Rogers & Hammerstein, the plot surrounds a headstrong young buck Adam Pontipee who heads to his local town in Oregon to find a wife. He stumbles across a spunky young lady called Milly, who he somewhat cons into marrying him so she can keep house for him and his 6 brothers. The brothers then decide that they too want wives and a jolly kidnap plot ensues. Yes, the plot is very strange and no, it doesn’t particularly sit well with modern sensibilities (in fact it’s a bit like “grabbing” from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding).

Outdated plot aside, this show is one of the funnest nights out at the theatre I’ve had all year. Despite Adam Pontipee being one of the most deplorable characters in musical theatre, Sam Attwater plays him with such charm and charisma it’s hard not to fall for him. He has great chemistry with Helena Blackman whose voice is simply gorgeous and the pair of them are perfect sparring partners.

But how could you see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers without mentioning the ensemble? The show really relies upon the talent of the cast and they don’t disappoint. Patti Colombo’s direction and choreography has the cast execute a non-stop, powerhouse of a dance number where the chaps seem to actually juggle the girls in the air. There are petticoats flying, pig tails a-twirling and enough energy on stage to power a small village in Scotland.

Anna Louizo’s set and Nick Riching’s lighting design move about the stage with the actors and does a good job creating both the intimacy of a log cabin and the wide open mountain range. While I’m sure the sound will get better as the tour goes on, the sound on the performance I saw was sloppily executed as it dipped in and out of hearing. But that really was the only fly in the ointment.

If you’re looking for a genuinely fun night out at a show that is jam-packed with talent, you’d be hard pushed to find one better than Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It really is a rooting-tooting good time!