White Christmas Is A Heart-Warming Winter's Night Out

By Sam Smith Last edited 45 months ago
White Christmas Is A Heart-Warming Winter's Night Out ★★★★☆ 4

'Lord help the sister who comes between me and my man'. Rachel Stanley and Louise Bowden as Betty and Judy Haynes. Photo by Alastair Muir.

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Everyone has seen White Christmas, with its iconic songs by Irving Berlin, at one Yuletide or another, and the best indicator as to whether this stage version is for you may well be just how much you enjoyed the original film. This does not mean, however, that the show currently appearing at the Dominion Theatre is identical, and any tinges of magic that you felt from watching the musical on screen could be multiplied several times over when experiencing it in the flesh.

The stage version began life in 2004 and works to more or less the same plot as the movie. It does, however, introduce greater song and dance routines, and a few new characters, that together help to make it a grander affair fit for a heart-warming winter’s evening out.

The entire show is executed in an accomplished manner, and particularly strong turns come from the female leads, Rachel Stanley and Louise Bowden. They play the sisters Betty and Judy Haynes and prove to be excellent all-rounders, with Stanley in particular delivering a stirring performance of ‘Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me’. Another star turn comes from Wendi Peters as the General’s housekeeper, Martha Watson, who has a huge yet pleasing voice, and presence in abundance.

The show is headed though by Aled Jones as Bob Wallace and Tom Chambers as Phil Davis (think Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in the film). Both leave a strong impression, and if at times they come across as weaker dancers than the chorus lines that form behind them (though Strictly Come Dancing winner Chambers fares the better of the two) it hardly matters. Jones has an excellent voice and fronts the extravaganza ‘Blue Skies’ with a good deal of spirit, while Chambers demonstrates his not inconsiderable talent for tap in ‘I Love A Piano’.

The dance routines, though hardly revolutionary, are slickly managed, and it is clever to include a chase through the chorus within one number, and to use the tossing of unpaid bills in the air as its final effect. The evening also proves innovative in apparently ending with a rendition of ‘White Christmas’ and the curtain calls, being finally revealing the show that the performers have been rehearsing throughout the show!

White Christmas may constitute little more than good old-fashioned entertainment, but if that is your bag, then we recommend that you make your way to the Dominion Theatre for the simple reason that this production does what it sets out to do very well indeed.

Until 3 January 2015 at the Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 7AQ with start times of 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets (£39.50-£106.25): 0845 200 7982 or visit the Dominion Theatre Box Office.

There are also thirty day tickets available at £30 for most performances until 21 November, which must be booked in person from 10.00am on the day at the Dominion Theatre Box Office.

Londonist saw this production on a complimentary ticket from Amanda Malpass PR.

Last Updated 14 November 2014