Since opening in 2015 Hope Mill Theatre Manchester has staged a number of shows that had previously not been seen in UK for a number years, and bought new life and energy to them and they done once again with their new production of Mame.
Mame hasn’t been seen in UK since it’s original West End production in 1969 with Ginger Rogers in the titular role. This new production retains all the charm of a classic musical with its slick choreography and fun score and really makes you wonder why it’s been forgotten for so long.
Eccentric Mame (Tracie Bennet) is known for her fabulous cocktail parties but her extravagant lifestyle is disrupted when she has to take care of late brother’s son. Bennet is a petite actress but her stage presence and charisma are larger than life and perfect for the role of Mame, however its shame that her vocals were frequently lost below the sound of the band, especially during the emotional If he walked into my life.
The combination of Philip Whitcomb’s art deco set and glitzy costumes firmly roots the show in the 20s and adds to the fun and glamour of the production as whole.
Unfortunately, where Mame falls down is how fleeting some of the plot points can be. For example Mame’s husband Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside (Tim Flavin) is not introduced until the end of the first act only for him to be killed off at the start of act two making his presence so short that it fails to add anything to the plot, besides a couple of throw away jokes about the length name.
Despite this the show is still thoroughly enjoyable and this particular production wouldn’t seem out of place on the west end.