Marvellous ★★★★ @sohoplace | Oct 15 - Nov 26, 2022

The West End's first new theatre in 50 years kicks off its inaugural season with a production of Marvellous. Like the BAFTA winning film of the same name, the show recounts the wonderfully improbable and inspiring life of Neil Baldwin. His positive spirit shines through in everything he does, from being a self-appointed greeter at Keele University to performing as Nello, the clown, or to acting as the mascot for his beloved Stoke City. Neil's gift is to evoke a can-do spirit and to spread happiness, and both of these were in ample evidence on the opening night. When actor, Daniel Murphy, was unable to perform, two actors, Joe Sproulle and Perry Moore, stepped into his place at the last minute and did a splendid job. It was a crisis that was the perfect exemplification of Neil's optimism in action. The show does not gloss over Neil's struggles, but its silliness and slapstick should leave even the most jaded with a smile on their face. Mike Hugo as Real Neil is utterly convincing and his wry and touching commentary on his own show is completely engaging. Hugo is supported by a terrific cast whose obvious sense of fun is totally contagious. Director, Theresa Heskins, has paced the show perfectly, and this production is a marvellous launch for the new, very welcome, addition to the West End theatre scene.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Craig Sugden.

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