Thoroughly Modern Millie at New Alexandra Theatre

by Dave Massey

Everything is thoroughly Modern.

Millie has just arrived in New York and already been robbed, she’s a very happy soul considering such a serious incident has taken place. Feeling ignored she trips over the next man passing to get his attention, Jimmy Smith. He sends her to Hotel Priscilla which seems to be a hotel for aspiring actresses, all is not what it seems at the hotel.

Julie Andrews played Millie in the 1960s movie which was based itself on an English musical Chrysanthemum. This is version of Thoroughly Modern Millie is a 2002 musical based on the movie. Got that?

Joanne Clifton as Millie

Joanne Clifton from Strictly Come Dancing shines as Millie in this current tour which is on at the New Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 18th February with Michelle Collins as Mrs Meers the owner of Hotel Priscilla. There’s just one issue with staying at Hotel Priscilla, you might disappear at any given moment. Unaware of the casual threat of kidnapping Millie has her room to pay for and sets off to find a husband and a job. (I’ve not made an error in the order that’s written in.)

There’s lots to enjoy about this show from the music to the fancy footwork. When I last saw this musical it was in 2005 at the Birmingham Hippodrome and Lesley Joseph was a much more “oriental” Mrs Meers. Michelle Collins plays her as a more American character and seems more comfortable with this choice.

Katherine Glover, Graham MacDuff and Joanne Clifton

A musical which dabbles with, kidnapping, slavery, the class system and becoming an independent adult for the first time it dangles these threads around until the last few minutes and I can’t help but feel if it were written today the focus would be very different.

Graham MacDuff steals the show as Millie’s boss Trevor, Jenny Fitzpatrick has a fantastic voice as Muzzy, Katherine Glover shines as vulnerable Miss Dorothy , Sam Barrett is great as Jimmy Smith.

Michelle Collins as Mrs Meers 

The show takes a real curve ball when Andy Yau as Bun Foo and Damian Buhagiar as Ching Ho start to sing their numbers as you will need to read the subtitles provided to keep up. But its all good fun.

Thoroughly Modern Millie is at the New Alexandra Theatre until Sat 18th Feb. Tickets here:

Special thanks to New Alexandra Theatre for inviting me and my plus one to see this show.