The Pleasure Garden: A Vauxhall Musical ★★★★ Above The Stag Theatre | Sep 15 - Oct 17, 2021


The Pleasure Garden: A Vauxhall Musical, written by Glenn Chandler and Charles Miller, provides great entertainment in this boisterous Victorian-style musical romp. The gardens at Vauxhall were directly behind this theatre and were always somewhat disreputable; this is exploited to the hilt by director Fenton Gray. As the two charming and handsome leading men, Sam Baumal and Jay Worley really shine and sing tremendously well. Ashleigh Harvey gives the complex character of Lady Lovelock real polish and supplies a great singing voice, shown to best effect in "The Place I Left Behind." However, for us the glorious projections stole the show. Ever-changing and always beautiful, George Reeve has created magical video images which are always apposite and frequently extremely lovely; his balloon landing is a sensation on this small stage. A brief scene at the Battle of Sebastopol is thrilling. The first half may feel a tad long; whilst it tells us of the frolics which went on in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in the 1850s, the relationships are a little slow to develop. The singing throughout is top grade and after the interval we were instantly entranced by the gorgeous chorale which opened the second act. Next came "It's Complicated" which is a complete show stopper. The plot may be wrapped up rather too quickly in the last ten minutes but, by the end of the show we were all delighted and wreathed in smiles. These Gardens offer pleasure in abundance.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by PBG Studios.

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