She Loves Me, Menier Chocolate Factory | Review

Friday, 9 December 2016

She Loves Me is a perfect mix of over the top sweetness and sincerity- pure joy to watch

She Loves Me
Menier Chocolate Factory
Reviewed on Thursday 8th December 2016 by Olivia Mitchell

Let's start this review by saying that She Loves Me at the Menier Chocolate Factory is definitely in my top 5 shows of 2016. I loved pretty much everything and really couldn't have asked for more from this idealistic but delightful show.

The basic idea of She Loves Me is that Amalia (Scarlett Strallen) and Georg (Mark Umbers) work together and detest each other but don't realise they are sending anonymous lonely hearts correspondences to one another whilst falling in love with the person on the page. There are also two sub-plots where we follow a heartbreaking time for the store owner Maraczek (Les Dennis) and the love trials of the giddy, Ilona (Katherine Kingsley).

Admittedly the story is cliched and somewhat predictable but that doesn't matter because for two and a half hours I escaped every day life to visit a sickly sweet and nostalgic world full of wonderful moments, sweet smells and fabulous music. Matthew White's revival of the 1963 show has the humour, wit, charm and above all sincerity to make it a truly great production.

The set by is fairly simple but super effective. The four small revolves which transition each scene to the next perfectly, fit so well in the intimate Menier Chocolate Factory but I can definitely see the beautiful set being easily transferred to a much bigger West End stage (which hopefully it will!) The shop design is especially beautiful with lots of intricate details which create a spectacle to look at. 

Scarlett Strallen is outstanding as Amalia Balash, her beautiful soprano voice rings out effortlessly and her comedic timing is impeccable. She makes  over the top and crazily idealistic Amalia, lovable and relatable- a positively dazzling performance. Mark Umbers as Georg Nowack is equally brilliant. Showing a number of different sides and gradually transitioning from a stiff, cold man to a romantic, caring gentleman. Each ensemble member gives an individual and memorable performance. Katherine Kingsley is hilarious as Ilona and had the audience laughing out loud throughout the show; every movement and facial expression is perfectly timed to create a fantastic character.

There's not a weak link in the cast and this whole production is a sweet as a music box's tune. I'm definitely hoping for a West End transfer as She Loves Me is sure to delight any audience member and make them fall in love with this sweet, festive, heart-warming musical.

She Loves Me runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 4th March