GT Stage

Review: Ushers

At long last, the ushers take central stage in this fabulous musical

‘Oops I Did It Again’ is the new jukebox musical based around the hits of pop princess Britney Spears. No, wait, calm yourself GT reader – it’s fictional. The actual action here is centred around five theatre ushers - frustrated actors and celebrity stalkers whose job it is to sell the programmes and serve the drinks in the theatre where this make-believe musical is supposedly staged.

Theatre about theatre can be a precarious pursuit, and runs the risk of disappearing up its own backstage, but this triumphant tale of frolics in the foyer and front-of-house flirting is a side-splitting smash from the opening number to the final curtain. Stuffed to bursting with more theatrical references and west-end witticisms than you could shake a glittery stick at, and brilliantly blurring the boundaries between the artifice and reality. We don’t want to give too much away, but strongly suggest that you make it to the theatre on time and don’t have to enter as a latecomer…

Ralph Bogard is delightfully diabolical as Robin Pockets, the ushers’ sleazy boss, masterfully milking the vaudeville villainy for all he’s worth. Carly Thoms is hilarious as baffled new-girl Lucy, and Ross McNeill smoulders as ‘straight boy’ Stephen. The gay romance between Daniel Buckley as Gary and Liam Ross-Mills as Ben imbue the farcical fiction with real heart, and both deliver touching performances - expertly crafted with know-how and nuance. The Olivier award for remarkable stage-presence and exceptional hilarity goes to Ceris Hine, who, as Rosie, steals the show with her adorably captivating clown. Hine’s rendition of ‘Leading Men’ is a showstopper of epic-proportion.

Cheeky lyrics and musical merrymaking poke fun at the world of musical theatre, but always with warmth and affection. A gloriously fun evening of slapstick and song. Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats – the show is about to start.

GT gives this a 5/5

Ushers runs at the Charing Cross Theatre until April 19th. More information at the Charing Cross Theatre website

Words: Richard Unwin

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