Review: Lend Me A Tenor - Gielgud Theatre, London

Set in 1930’s Ohio, the renowned tenor Tito Merelli (Michael Matus) is due to perform Shakespeare’s Otello. In a twist of fate, the production’s prompt, Max (Damian Humbley) is pushed into becoming a last minute replacement for the star resulting in several cases of mistaken identity and comical farce.

The penthouse suite of Merelli’s hotel is a spray of lilac and gold, with details such as chandeliers and portraits adding to the grandeur. The set also reminded me of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ when the audience were transported backstage to watch the last moments of Max’s performance of Otello (with quite a revealing bottom half to his costume!)

Light-hearted humor is scattered throughout this musical, from the word go. Highlights include a parody of operatic arias by diva Diana Divane (Sophie-Louise Dann), and a cleverly choreographed door routine where the characters keep missing each other. Other notable performances were the dramatic Italian persona of Merelli’s wife (Joanna Riding), the dulcet tones of the young Maggie (Cassidy Janson) and the relationship between Max and Merelli, helped along with a few glasses of booze and some mystery pills! Matthew Kelly (remember him of ‘Stars in Their Eyes’?) was also part of this performance, playing an uptight producer using amusing facial expressions and making the character his own.

Unfortunately, it was not a full house at the Gielgud tonight but I recommend this show to anyone who fancies an evening of light entertainment and laughter.

So go on and lend a ‘tenor’ or two to see this witty performance before it closes on Saturday 6th August. You haven’t got long!

Review by Philippa Bellis