Following a sold out run at the Chichester Festival, Richard Adler’s The Pajama Game transferred into London’s Shaftesbury Theatre last month for a limited run (until 7 September).
Michael Xavier and Joanna Riding are the perfect pairing to play the lead roles of Sid Sorokin and Babe Williams. They bounce off of each other with a twinkle in their eyes and bring the comedy to life. Gary Wilmot is the newest addition to the cast, taking over from Peter Polycarpou, in the role of Vernon Hines. His song with Mabel (played by Claire Machin) was another demonstration of perfect pairing. However the big stand out performers in this show are Sion Lloyd (Max) and Jennie Dale (Mae), brimming with charisma and giving every part of themselves to their performances like their lives depended on it.
The story engaging (although a little slow in places). Workers in a Pajama factory demand a 7 1/2 cent pay increase to bring them inline with other factories. We see their fight to get what they deserve with a little help from the Union. Great set design/choreography and brilliant performances pulls the Pajama Game through to make it what it is.
The music is good. ‘Racing With The Clock’, ‘I’m Not At All In Love’ and ‘Once A Year Day’ had my toes tapping in the first half of the show and the upbeat opening to act 2 showed the cast brilliantly letting off some steam in ‘Steam Heat’.
It was lovely to see an older couple sat in front of me who said they had seen the original production at the London Coliseum back in 1955. However this helped to demonstrate the niche market this show appeals to (the audience were predominantly over 50). Cleverly this show has made it clear from the start that it will only run for a limited time.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
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