Gary Sparrow is a downcast TV repairman in a drab marriage with ambitious wife Yvonne and best friends with printer Ron. While on a call out in the East End he walks down an alleyway called Duckett’s Passage and suddenly finds himself in war-torn London
Goodnight sweetheart is a strong memory for many of us who grew up in the 90s, we were travelling back and forth in time with Nicholas Lyndhurst long before David Tennant and many of us will remember the final episode in 2016, with confirmation that there would be no more episodes soon after.
The musical version that was shown at ‘Brookside Theatre’ was written by the original writers of the Goodnight Sweetheart series (Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran), who agreed that Brookside Theatre could perform the show after Director Jai Sepple contacted them asking if the theatre could write a musical based on the classic TV series.
All of the cast perform to a high standard throughout the show and I could not fault them in any way. I was especially impressed with Jai Sepple, Kirsty Cherrett & Madelaine Jennings performing ‘Time after Time’, a song certainly fitting with the plot.
But as it’s a jukebox musical we already knew all of the songs from the 40s and 80s, meaning that the songs hardly ever moved the plot along and I often found myself just waiting for the song to finish so that I could see what happened next. The decision to move Gary back a decade from the 90s to the 80s seems an odd one and only seems to have been decided to allow for scenes in a gym with people in spandex and large mobile phones you have to hold in two hands.
As I knew and remembered the original show I found the first half of the show very predictable, part of me did enjoy waiting for the customers to test Gary on pronouncing his Ws, but as a carbon copy of the TV show it did mean that I wouldn’t have been at a disadvantage if the mics stopped working. The second half did go off script from the TV show and this did leave me hanging at some points
The cast and all of the production staff put on an amazing show, performing a musical that was written for the West End appropriately in a Memorial Social Club but the main dampener to the musical is the TV show. There was no way that a 2 hour musical could have the plot and all of the laughs of a TV show that that lasted 6 years and because of this the ending feels very abrupt
I hope that the writers can learn from their production in Romford and adapt it to work on The West End stage, the Goodnight Sweetheart that kept us laughing throughout the 90s should never die
Ebenezer Scrooge is coming to Brookside Theatre this Christmas in a Christmas Carol. Come and join him in an adventure of Past, Present and Future on Wed 12 – Sat 22 Dec 2018