Review: The Darling Buds of May at the Groundlings Theatre, Portsea

Katherine Ryan

REVIEW: Katherine Ryan at the Portsmouth Guildhall

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This show took a Nineties television programme and made it into a 1950s rock and roll musical.

An unusual mix on paper – as was the realisation.

The script recreated familiar scenes but lacked substance. Fun and games were abundant – quite literally during an entertaining game of drunk crib – but attempts at thickening the plot fell short.

Mariette’s pregnancy, set up at the beginning, was explained away two seconds before the closing number.

Subtlety was not the name of the game – children were jiving everywhere and most lines were answered with a guffaw from Ma or Pop (Corrie’s Steve Arnold) – but the cast did a good job of capturing the TV show’s charm.

The songs, however, need a rethink. Filling out your income tax form doesn’t call for a song, and the chorus singing ‘knock knock, it’s one for this knob’ to a doo-wop beat was bizarre – if entertaining.

Until Saturday.