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Joey! He's no real pal

PUBLISHED: 18:00 01 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 March 2010

Pal Joey, at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, until March 23



LET'S face it. Joey isn't really the sort of guy you want as your pal.

He's a professional liar, he's after your money - and he's also a shameless

womaniser.

Pal Joey, at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, until March 23

LET'S face it. Joey isn't really the sort of guy you want as your pal.

He's a professional liar, he's after your money - and he's also a shameless

womaniser.

But, for all that, you just won't be able to resist his charms!

Former EastEnders star Des Coleman turns on the magic as the wildly ambitious young nightclub star in the New Wolsey's sparkling production of the Rodgers and Hart musical, directed by Phil Willmott.

And Kathryn Evans is wonderful as the worldly-wise Vera, giving a breathtaking performance of the classic song Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, which is definitely the highlight of the whole evening.

The first-night audience thoroughly enjoyed a great show - and, even though the Wolsey wasn't full, you can bet that word will soon spread about the sheer entertainment value of this production.

Set in a sleazy 1930s Chicago full of hoods and molls, this musical seems very daring for its period, and it isn't hard to see why the original audiences were indeed bothered and bewildered!

But, of course, the show, based on John O'Hara's short stories, eventually became a hit in 1950, and has since been revived many times in both the US and the UK.

The story begins when young charmer Joey arrives in the windy city and talks his way into a job as MC at a seedy down-at-heel nightclub.

But he sees his big chance when wealthy society dame Vera turns up – and before too long she is well and truly falling under his spell.

There's also another woman in Joey's life. Rae Baker gives an appealing performance as Linda, the "mouse" who could truly love him ... but the big question is whether he will ever give her a chance.

The fairly small cast have to perform some quick change acts, and it can get a big confusing when some actors double up roles, for instance, with Michael Mawey playing both club boss Mike and agent Lowell.

However, the most memorable thing about the show is probably the dancing girls. Glamorous isn't exactly the word, but their costumes are certainly memorable - especially in the number where they struggle to balance huge head-dresses made of fruit.

And watch out for the most surprising strip-tease sequence you've ever seen!


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