Taking inspiration from the girls’ school romances of Angela Brazil, Crush is a fun musical romp through the teenage minds and lives of boarding school girls and the mistresses who look after them. A great idea indeed and beautifully put together and performed. The company are first class, from the well honed band to a chorus of feisty girls tap dancing in hockey kit – well what’s not to like? The plot is on the surface a silly confection, but the sexual awakening of a young girl is never disguised or brushed aside and it is all the better for that. And for once a rather wobbly set that is meant to wobble!
Sara Crowe is marvelous as Miss Austin, the gentle but supportive teacher and her voice whilst not strong is effectively sweet. Rosemary Ashe makes a terrifying head-mistress, truly scary and her voice is amazingly powerful especially in the denouement where she blew me away. Brianna Ogunbawo plays Daimler with real heart, perhaps the only real as opposed to cartoon character in the show – and she has a golden voice too, sweet but hearty. Kirsty Malpass and James Meunier shine as a comic duo and Meaner in particular as Marlene Dietrich.Stephanie Clift’s portrayal of Susan is delightful especially when she finally “finds” herself and Charlotte Miranda-Smith’s Camilla is an horrific hoot as the spoilt rich girl toying with Susan’s affections.
Kath Gotts’ songs are ripping too and delivered with oomph. My only misgiving is that the whole could with a few more hearty laughs, when they come they are great but please give us more of the same and make this the full Brazilian!
Theatre Royal Brighton