Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

They Don't Make 'Em like This Any More; Review Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'be Theatre Royal Stratford East

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

They Don't Make 'Em like This Any More; Review Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'be Theatre Royal Stratford East

Article excerpt

Byline: fiona mountford

STRATFORD EAST is certainly on a roll with musicals this year. After a glorious revival of Oh What A Lovely War, the centenary celebrations for the legendary director Joan Littlewood continue with another of her big hits from this venue's glory days.

Fings (1959), with Lionel Bart's music accompanying the book written by excon Frank Norman, opened at Stratford East before transferring to the West End for an eye-watering 886 performances. Enjoyable as the current production is, this feat is unlikely to be repeated, despite a sassy turn from Jessie Wallace, best known as Kat Slater in EastEnders. Not a lot actually happens in the piece, which is set in a dive bar in London. It's run by Fred (Mark Arden) and Lil (Wallace) and is home to a motley assortment of tarts, crooks and bent coppers, including Christopher Ryan's delightfully incomprehensible thief Red Hot and Gary Kemp's PC Collins.

The downbeat mood is set by the glorious early number Layin' Abaht, a perfect ode to lethargy. …

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