Only Fools And Horses The Musical: He Who Dares, Wins... Almost
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The warmth of the relationship between brothers Derrick and Rodney Trotter was a large part of the success of sitcom Only Fools And Horses, and is again at the centre of this musical version by Paul Whitehouse and Jim Sullivan.
The original seven series (1981-1991) showed the market traders wheeling and dealing around Peckham, getting into scrapes but eventually ‘growing up,’ falling in love and settling down. Here, a fairly safe choice is made to centre the story at the point Del Boy meets Raquel. Overall the production does a great job in giving people what they want by mimicking the original characters and situations.
Credit has to go to the whole cast, who are all very convincing. The gags flow, their effortlessness disguising the skill involved. Tom Bennett (Del Boy), Ryan Hutton (Rodney) and Paul Whitehouse (Grandad) are all excellent and pull off the trick of being both slick and likeable.
There is new material tucked away in here too. A crystal ball shows the future of Peckham (from the vantage of Thatcher’s 1980s) as one filled with Brazillian Baristos and French Bakers, which speaks volumes of how the fortune of this part of London has changed since the original series. When Del visits dating agent (Oscar Conlon-Morrey) there is wonderful interplay between the two as the agent mimics Del’s cockney in the song Bit of Sort.
It's always a risk to represent a loved classic but, as Del says, He Who Dares Wins — almost.
Only Fools and Horses, Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk Street, SW1Y 4HT. Tickets £15-85, until August 2019.
Last Updated 22 February 2019