Terrific Retelling Of Hans Christian Andersen Story At The Tabard
Talented cast bounce through 37 musical numbers in Little Match Girl
This is a terrific retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen story as
an extremely talented cast of just 11 sing and dance their way through
21 roles and 37 musical numbers, telling the story of a young girl thrown
into the street by her father and told not to come back until she’s sold
all her matches.
Hans Christian Andersen is well known for his fairy stories but, like
his chum Charles Dickens, he was also aware of society's indifference
to the plight of the poor. Hence this little story.
Our heroin is befriended by cheeky Cockney chappie Arthur (Jack Ayres) who intriduces himself singing a catchy little number called simply Arthur's Me Name. He cleans the master's boots and hopes to be a butler one day. There are a couple of touching dreamlike sequence where they imagine how things could be, but can he really help her? Slick direction by Keith Strachan, who also wrote it, keeps things bowling along.
All the music is supplied by Richie Hart tucked away above the stage. Some of the songs are sad such as An Ordinary Life sung by Josie (Aimee Barrett) , the woman living with the Match Girl's father Jebb (Rob Hadden) who sings the equally sad You Can't Come Home. And some are very funny as in the duet with the self satisfied sisters Maud (Katherine Hamilton-Hall) and Winifred (Julia Faulkner) as they warble about having better things to do than gossip with us. Thank goodness they haven't got anything better to do they're hilarious. Another witty set piece is the Kitchen Rag where Katherine pops up again as the cook in the rich man's kitchen dancing around the goose with the butler (Ian McCurrach).
But none of the jollity and humour are allowed to overshadow the heart rending wretchedness at the centre of this story. In a quiet moment when everybody's gone home and she's completely alone, the Little Match Girl lights matches to warm herself and conjure up the ghost of her beloved grandmother, as she curls up to protect herself from the snow and the relentless cold.
Take a big hankie, this one’s a weepie.
December 13, 2017