REVIEW: Mack and Mabel, Opera House, Manchester

I have to confess, Mack and Mabel was one of those shows which never featured on my radar of must-see musicals.

But this new production at the Opera House which re-tells the touching story of the relationship between silent movie mogul, Mack Sennett and the beautiful actress Mabel Normand is nothing short of superb.

Michael Ball excels as the brash and stubborn genius determined to “make ’em laugh”. There are plenty of those in the show and quite a few tears as Ball cements his credentials as an accomplished character actor as well being able to belt out a song.

There was a danger that Ball would dominate and steal the show, but is matched by the brilliant Rebecca La Chance as the young deli girl who stumbles on to the set of a shoot, into a movie career and steals Sennett’s heart.

The show is a directorial triumph for Jonathan Church who has pulled out all the stops with an impressive use of sets including projections to recreate perfectly the excitement and buzz of being involved in those pioneering years of cinema as well as the melancholy that went with the end of the silent era.

So if you’re into musicals and the movies, add this to your list of must-see shows.

Runs till October 24

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