Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
It's been 54 years since Seven Brides for Seven Brothers set a new bar for Hollywood big screen productions, but, as a new national tour of the musical suggests, it's still undergoing numerous theatrical reincarnations. What exactly is it about this simple story - in which Adam Pontipee marries Milly, only for the heroine to find that she has to take care of his six rustic brothers too - that captivates audiences?
Steven Houghton, a regular West End star, who has also appeared on TV's Bugs and Holby City, steps into the role of Adam, played memorably on the silver screen by Howard Keel. Houghton puts the musical's success down to its feel-good nature: 'A woman changes seven men from cavemen into gentlemen: it's that journey that makes this such an endearing, warm and happy story. Especially at a time like this, when there's the credit crunch happening and people are a bit down, it provides a really uplifting experience.'
Houghton co-stars with Susan McFadden, winner of ITV's Grease is the Word, and is effusive about the production's 'fantastic atmosphere'. Indeed, the vibrant numbers, including 'Bless her Beautiful Hide' and 'Goin' Courtin'', fuse seamlessly with the dazzling choreography, in which men swing axes like batons, to create a riotous flurry of musical energy. Houghton is optimistic that this energy has been well translated: 'It's been studied and cast really well - obviously stage musicals are never anything like the film versions, but we've very playfully and cleverly brought this to life.'
Playhouse, Edinburgh, Tue 9-Sat 13 Sep