She loves me is the 1963 Broadway musical and the third adaptation of the film Parfumerie by the Hungrian Playwright Miklos Laszio. The Shop Around The Corner, In The Good Old Summertime (starring Judy Garland) and the 1998 film You’ve Got Mail (starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks).
The show tells the story of perfume shop worker Georg Nowack and his secret relationship with penpal ‘Dear Friend’. When the two inked lovers agree to meet for the first time, things do not go as planned when Georg realises that his beloved is actually his loathed co-worker Amalia Balash. Can they put their differences aside and make a go of a relationship that works so well on paper but not in person? Or will Georg not have the courage to tell Amalia the truth about who he is?
She Loves Me is a good time, old fashioned musical that really makes you sit there and think ‘they don’t make them like they used to’. It would have been nice to see the show brought up to date using online dating instead of pen to paper but the original storyline added charm to the old fashioned feeling.
Charlotte Jaconelli was sublime as Amalia Balash. Charlotte is an established recording artists after competing in the finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2012 but she makes her theatrical debut in She Loves Me. Her innocence and charm are reminiscent of Danielle Hope (who won the 2010 TV series to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium). A beautiful girl with a beautiful voice, Charlotte is definitely one to watch out for in 2015.
Emily Lynne was another stand out performer in this show as Ilona Ritter. Her eyes tell the story and hold such focus that you can’t look away when she is performing. Her rendition of I Resolve was brilliant and you could see she was tapping into the pain felt from every man who has ever hurt her. I Don’t Know His Name, performed by Ilona and Amalia was beautiful, as was A Trip To The Library.
Susie Chaytow was brilliant at playing the bitchy shop customer, with a snooty, Bette Midler look to her and Joshua LeClair was adorable as Arpad Laszalo, so sweet that I wanted to put him in my pocket and take him home.
The true star of She Loves Me however (and its very hard to choose just one) is Ian Dring as shop owner Mr Maraczek and waiter. Two completely different roles, perfectly embodied with charm, campness and such original song and dance feeling that I felt transported back into the 1950’s. This show would not have been what is was, if not for him.
The show is fairly long as just under three hours but it whizzed by without a glance at the time. The climax of the show was a slight disappointment however as I hoped it would go out with a bang.
She Loves Me is sublime and I urge you all to go and check it out. When fringe productions can hold your attention like this one does, you know you have something special on your hands. I want to go back again and again!
Reviewed by West End Wilma
She Loves Me is playing at the Landor Theatre until 7 March 2015.
Photo: Darren Bell