REVIEW: Thoroughly Modern Millie at Theatre Royal Brighton

Joanne Clifton starring as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Picture: Darren Bell
Joanne Clifton starring as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Picture: Darren Bell

It was fast-paced, fun and downright fantastic.

Thoroughly Modern Millie opened at the Theatre Royal Brighton last night, and it exceeded all my expectations.

Starring reigning Strictly Come Dancing champion Joanne Clifton in the title role, I wasn’t sure whether her skills went beyond professional dancing – but I needn’t have worried.

This lady is multi-talented, with a voice and acting skills that more than matched her dancing prowess.

She was also really funny, and it was, of course, great to see her dancing live in a range of styles – from tap to the Charleston.

Set in 1920s prohibition-era New York, it tells the story of small-town girl Millie Dillmount, who arrives in the Big Apple looking for more than a humdrum life in middle America.

She embarks on a quest to find a rich boss to marry, but ends up living in a run-down hotel for jobbing actresses run by the outrageously ridiculous Mrs Meers (Lucas Rush).

Rush’s portrayal of ‘Meersy’ is reminiscent of classic pantomime baddy, and had the audience both chuckling and (silently) booing him.

Also very worth of note was Graham MacDuff, who starred as Millie’s boss Trevor Graydon. He was absolutely hilarious, particularly in his drunk scene, and had a powerful voice and commanding stage presence.

I also loved Muzzy Van Hossmere’s character – the young widow who is a world-class singer – ably played by Jenny Fitzpatrick with her soulful voice.

Sam Barrett, who played love interest Jimmy Smith, is a rising star.

Although at almost three hours (including an interval) it’s a long show, it didn’t drag at all.

We left feeling like we could happily sit down and watch it all over again – and if that’s not the sign of a great show, I don’t know what is!

Thoroughly Modern Millie is at the Theatre Royal Brighton until Saturday. See www.atgtickets.com/brighton