The Tailor-Made Man*** (Arts Theatre, 18 February 2013)

Posted: February 18, 2013 in Theatre

Seen in preview, so still a little rough around the edges, this new musical tells the true story of the rise and fall of William Haines, a Hollywood star of the 1920s/30s whose private life failed to meet the expectations of the studios and particularly those of Louis B Mayer. This is a low budget, small scale effort, but it is packed with interesting ideas and winning performances. The three leads, Dylan Turner, Bradley Clarkson and Faye Tozer (as Marion Davies, girlfriend of William Randolph Hurst) all bring their characters touchingly to life, Mike McShane is an ogreish Mayer and Kay Murphy gives a knockout cameo as Pola Negri. The dialogue is peppered with bitchy showbiz one-liners and there are also some clever lyrics and melodic tunes, although occasionally the songs do not seem to fit in comfortably with the narrative. The story is told in flashback, an unnecessary device that gives the show a slow start, interrupts its flow and leads to a very flat ending. Overall it is an entertaining show which, with a little tidying up, could well improve considerably once it get fully into its stride.

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