She Loves Me at Menier Chocolate Factory received an average 4.5 stars from critics, including seven fives. Fiona Mountford (Evening Standard) welcomed “this playful and delightful 1963 musical”. Mark Shenton (The Stage) described a “masterpiece” and Sarah Crompton (What’s On Stage) enjoyed “a gentle heart, an acerbically witty script and a view of romance that is always warm but never sentimental” plus “brilliant songs” and thought it “fantastically modern in the way it uses song to reveal character”. Libby Purves (TheatreCat) hailed “soaring melodies and fabulously witty lyrics” and Crompton enjoyed “the finesse and bite” of Sheldon Harnick’s lyrics and the “playfulness” of Jerry Bock’s score.
Crompton thought this “jewel… perfectly served” by Matthew White’s “delicate revival” praising its “fine-tuning”. Shenton felt “ingeniously” using British accents made it “more relatable” and hailed “the sweetest-looking and sounding production in town”. Mountford, who found it “charming,” saw an “elegant, intimate, ordered world… impeccably conjured”. Shenton enjoyed the set’s “effortless resourcefulness” and Purves thought it “ravishingly pretty” describing “gilt, roses, grapes, lovebirds, shining bottles and barocco curlicues”. Crompton praised choreography which “fills the tiny space with great flair” and Purves praised Rebecca Howell’s “sharp wit” highlighting a “chokingly funny” café bust-up. She felt lyricist Harnick, in the audience, “justifiably” called it “the best production of it he’s ever seen”.
Crompton enjoyed “simply delicious” performances, and Shenton reported “exactly the right blend of sincerity and feeling”. Mountford thought Scarlett Strallen and Mark Umbers “beautifully cast as the sweet-voiced pair”. Purves found Umbers’ Georg, “just dislikeable enough at first” and Crompton described “a man unsure of his position in the world yet trying to hide his doubts” and said: “Watching him thaw is a joy.” Purves judged Strallen “perfection, all comic sincerity and vulnerable spirit”. Crompton enjoyed her “wide-eyed, ditzy dreamer, with a fierce line in crushing put downs” and found her “constant hopefulness… genuinely touching” and her rendition of the “showstopping” Vanilla Ice Cream “an absolute joy”.
Mountford hailed “terrific” Katherine Kingsley’s “winning way with the mordant one-liner” and Crompton found her “hysterical”. Purves called Les Dennis “poignantly likeable, gently funny” and Shenton found him “heartbreaking”. Purves said “all the roles are taken perfectly”, and “all in turn stop the show” and Crompton judged even Cory English’s brief appearance “a masterpiece of comic timing”.
Shenton thought “no show has been more exquisitely and perfectly realised” at the Menier, finding it “scintillating and delightful”. Purves found it “camp but sincere, mischievous and intelligent, light as air with a fluttering heart and a Christmassy conclusion” and “really, really funny… the tonic for the moment”. Mountford was among those thinking it “surely bound for a West End transfer” and Crompton described “the kind of show you can watch at any time of year and emerge feeling goodwill to all men… Utterly heavenly”.
Currently booking to 05 Mar 2017, with some tickets still available from the Menier box office, although it’s probably best not to hang about. And if it’s put you in the mood for more seasonal treats, we have tickets for the Palladium’s star-studded Cinderella, the return of Potted Panto, brand new Nativity! The Musical and our latest festive tradition, Peter Pan Goes Wrong.
Have a great Christmas!