Review: They're Playing Our Song

By John Nathan, August 8, 2008
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Menier Chocolate Factory, London SE1

This 1978 New York musical was written by and about the Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, with a wise-cracking book by Neil Simon.

Connie Fisher plays eccentric lyricist Sonia (based on Sager) opposite Alistair McGowan's egocentric composer Vernon (based on Hamlisch, though looking remarkably like Jason Robert Brown).

It is a long way from the Sound of Music's nun to a neurotic New Yorker, yet Fisher proves she has acting as well as vocal range. But 30 years on from the authors' heydays, this show, saturated by director Fiona Laird in pleasing '70s kitsch, has a whiff of vanity project about it.

There is lots of talk about song writing talent, but - this is blasphemy to some - little evidence of it the score. Like Simon, Hamlisch's and Sager's best work is elsewhere. Tel: 020 7907 7060

    Last updated: 1:09pm, August 7 2008