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Matt Lucas   Caroline Quentin
Clive Rowe   Alex Young

Me and My Girl

Book & Lyrics by L Arthur Rose and Douglas Furber
Book revised by Stephen Fry with contributions by Mike Ockrent
Music by Noel Gay

Festival TheatreTicketsPrice: from £10

Overview

Fizzing with laughs

WhatsOnStage

A class act

i Newspaper

What a treat!

Libby Purves
 

Delicious. There is stardust on this production from the start

Times
 
Daily Telegraph
 
Guardian

At Hareford Hall in Hampshire, suspense is in the air. The family solicitor has found the long-lost heir to the Hareford title and riches. But, to everyone’s horror, he’s a Cockney barrow boy called Bill Snibson. As the Duchess determinedly sets out to transform him into a true gentleman, Bill’s sweetheart Sally wonders how she fits in to his new life. Before too long, Bill has to answer some soul-searching questions about who he really is.

This uproarious, much-loved musical comedy includes the enormously popular numbers The Sun Has Got His Hat On and Lambeth Walk. The revised version by Stephen Fry and Mike Ockrent, also featuring Leaning on a Lamppost, won the 1985 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical.

This new staging is directed by Daniel Evans with designs by Lez Brotherston and choreography by Alistair David, the outstanding team behind Festival 2017’s hit musical Fiddler on the Roof. They are joined by Gareth Valentine (Guys and Dolls) who is creating brand new arrangements for the score, which will be orchestrated by Doug Besterman and Mark Cumberland.

Matt Lucas plays Bill Snibson. Known to a television audience of millions for the smash hit TV series Little Britain, his theatre work includes the role of Thenardier in Les Misérables in the West End. His recent screen credits include Doctor Who, Alice in Wonderland, Paddington and Bridesmaids.

Caroline Quentin makes her Chichester debut as the Duchess of Dene. One of television’s most popular actors from series such as Men Behaving BadlyJonathan Creek and Dickensian, her recent stage work includes The Hypocrite (RSC) and Relative Values (West End).

Clive Rowe’s extensive theatre work includes Kiss Me Kate (Chichester), Carousel, Guys and Dolls (Olivier Award), Candide, Caroline, Or Change and The Light Princess (National Theatre), Blues in the Night (Hackney Empire) and Chicago (West End).

Alex Young plays Sally; her many musical theatre credits include Follies at the National Theatre, Carousel (ENO), Show Boat (West End/Sheffield) and Anything Goes (Sheffield Theatres).


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Reviews

Fizzing with laughs and genuine warmth

WhatsOnStage

A class act

i Newspaper

Oh, what a treat! Noel Gay’s musical is delivered with nimble glee under Daniel Evans, with designer Lez Brotherston providing coups-de-set, nicely bonkers choreographic flourishes by Alistair David and sharp arrangements from musical director Gareth Valentine. A joyful, hopeful fairytale of a show. Just what we need

Libby Purves for TheatreCat
 

Cor blimey, what a tonic for our troubled times

Daily Telegraph
 

A sparkling musical. Jokes aplenty, catchy songs and a cleverly staged production

Guardian
 

Delicious. There is stardust on this production from the start

Times
 

A dazzling revival

The Stage

The best CFT musical in years. Daniel Evans’ greatest night at the CFT so far – a blissful, fantastically good spirited evening, slick but also fresh, huge on energy, beautifully choreographed and, maybe best of all, repeatedly very very funny indeed

Chichester Observer

With one-liners aplenty, brilliantly choreographed dance numbers and wonderful set designs, Me and My Girl is a feel-good knees-up of boisterous brilliance and surely a shoo-in to head for the West End. Don’t wait for London

Chichester News

Feel Good Central. Get in the car, get to Chichester and see it. The cockles of your heart will be warmed

Portsmouth News

Pretty much perfect. You’ll be hard pushed to emerge from the theatre without your feet tapping and a tune on your lips. From the wistful and lovely Leaning On A Lamppost to the heart wrenching Once You Lose Your Heart and of course the outstanding Lambeth Walk, a dazzle of tap shoes, sequins and beaming grins with glittering choreography

In The Cheap Seats
 

Chichester Festival Theatre's big summer show is very big indeed, a showy, schmaltzy, sock-it-to-'em musical revival that crowdpleases like few others

Broadway World

Cast & Creatives

Cast

Creative Team

Daniel Evans

Director

Lez Brotherston

Designer

Alistair David

Choreographer

Gareth Valentine

Musical Supervisor, Musical Director and Musical Arrangements

Doug Besterman

Orchestrator

Mark Cumberland

Orchestrator

Tim Mitchell

Lighting Designer

Carolyn Downing

Sound Designer

Andrzej Goulding

Video Designer

Charlotte Sutton

Casting Director

Rob Bettle

Associate Sound Designer

Seeta Mistry

No. 1 Sound Technician

Gallery

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Q&A with Daniel Evans

Daniel Evans in rehearsal for Chichester Festival Theatre’s ME AND MY GIRL. Credit: Photo by Johan Persson.

Q&A with Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre and Director of Me and My Girl, Daniel Evans

This July sees the opening of the much-loved, 1930s classic Me and My Girlwith Matt Lucas, Caroline Quentin, Clive Rowe and Alex Young. We grabbed five minutes with Daniel Evans to find out about the challenges of directing a musical.


You’ve directed many productions on many different stages, how does CFT’s thrust stage impact your directorial decisions?

Many musicals were written for proscenium arches – and so they are incredibly challenging to do on a thrust, but also incredibly interesting to do because they force you to think outside the box from a design and staging point of view. It’s not like all the audience are looking at a picture frame and all seeing the same picture; they are all seeing different angles and viewpoints. The “thrustness” of things gives it an extra closeness, because the audience aren’t far away in the gods, they’re 50 feet away, even in the back row, so that’s an interesting experience for our audience.

My first musical on a thrust stage was My Fair Lady in Sheffield, which was a baptism of fire but we were lucky to have a great team and a wonderful cast. The Chichester stage is wider and the Sheffield stage is deeper; and audience entryways and the exits for the actors are different. Nevertheless, the same principle exists in both, in that you do have to think, particularly in musicals that require a lot furniture – and Me and My Girl is one of them – how the hell do you get them on and off?  You have to do it in full view – and that means you have to find interesting ways to change the scene.


How does directing a musical differ from directing a play?

A musical is definitely more collaborative. You have a choreographer and a musical director, which of course you don’t have for a play, so that adds two big brains to the process, who really – along with the designer – have an equal amount of input, sometimes more, depending on the show. 


Do dancers learn steps differently to actors learning words, who slowly gets to grips with the dialogue in rehearsal?

Dancers and singers have to learn songs and steps straight off, otherwise you can’t rehearse. The other thing is that with singing and dancing you can be on the right note or you can be on the wrong note; and actually with text that just isn’t true, so in that sense it’s a different discipline. With dialogue, there can be a thousand different ways to do something; whereas there are elements of the disciplines of singing and dancing which require a degree of accuracy that mean you can either be right or wrong.

The motivational part of the work remains the same – you still have to know who you are, where you’ve come from, where you’re going to, what you want – but within a much narrower parameter, of knowing that your leg can be at the right angle or the wrong angle.

 

What are the different rewards of musicals and plays as a director?

What’s interesting is working with groups of people who are inevitably going to be at various stages of experience of doing musical theatre. For example, working with Omid Djalili last season [on Fiddler on the Roof], a brilliant comedian who had taken over the role of Fagin in Oliver! but hadn’t originated a role in a new musical production. Those performers, while they are generally known for their comedy, also have the amazing ability to make the text feel fresh and spontaneous and “in the moment”.  Matt Lucas and Caroline Quentin are two such actors.

They also have a rapport with their audience because they’re used to having a direct line to the audience – and particularly in certain kinds of musicals. In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye talks to the audience constantly and indeed in Me and My Girl Bill has a kind of subversive nature to his character, which means that he’s constantly breaking the fourth wall. That really fits hand in glove [with their experience as comedians] and means they’re wonderful to collaborate with. It’s interesting working with them on the songs because it’s often a new discipline for them, to sustain thought through music – which is a very different thing to sustaining it through dialogue.

 

Me and My Girl opens 2 July and runs until 25 August. 

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Tickets
Running Time
2 hours 45 mins including the interval