Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

What Else Is New

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

What Else Is New

Article excerpt

THEATRE THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS Arcola, E8 FIONA MOUNTFORD THE newly refurbished -- now with a proper bar, thank goodness -- Arcola presents a salutary tale for any journalist with a puffed-up ego. Marvin Hamlisch's acerbic 2002 musical version of the classic 1957 film traces the disintegration of the personal life of New York gossip columnist JJ Hunsecker, a man prone to modest statements such as "My column is the heartbeat of America".

In brief, Hunsecker (David Bamber), based on the real-life Walter Winchell, has a protege and a sister. He meets the former, Sidney (impressive Adrian der Gregorian), through the latter, Susan (Caroline Keiff ), and the paths of the pair become infelicitously entwined due to Susan's secret romance with a nightclub singer. The disconcertingly asexual Hunsecker displays a creepy protectiveness towards the much younger Susan and why she hasn't told him to push off before the show's start is a mystery.

Mehmet Ergen offers this Tony Award-nominated piece a slick, polished UK premiere, the stand-out aspect of which is the sparkling ensemble choreography (take a twirl, Nathan M Wright). …

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