Review: They’re Playing Our Song at Menier Chocolate Factory

Connie Fisher & Alistair McGowan

Originally published to Londonist.

Southwark’s Menier Chocolate Factory has well established its reputation with productions being transferred to the West End since opening in 2004. So it is not so much a surprise as you may think that two stars of television and the stage took to the tiny 190 seat theatre last night.

Starring Connie Fisher and Alistair McGowan, ‘They’re Playing Our Song’ was packed with critics and guests (including showbiz theatre producer David Ian) all out to see ‘what Connie did next’. Since leaving the role of Maria Von Trapp earlier in the year, all’s been quiet on the Fisher front and moving to a role in such a small production was not expected.

A semi autobiographical music based around the love affair between composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricist Carole Bayer Sagar, the show originally opened in LA in 1978 and hasn’t been in London since 1982. McGowan plays Vernon, the grumpy composer who becomes intrigued and eventually softened by Fisher’s quirky Sonia. Connie’s best Janice from Friends Brooklyn accent may have been a little offputting at first, but her chemistry with the wise cracking neurotic McGowan soon shone through.

Essentially a two hander, the pair are each joined by three inner voices that add to the comedy and help create cheesy but warming dance numbers. Set in the disco era, Matthew Wright’s costumes including Sonia’s various ‘theatre cast offs’ are spot on. Musically you’re probably not going to remember the cute songs for a long time save the show-stopping ‘I Still Believe In Love’ which, if anyone from Syco Records is reading, we recommend you get Leona Lewis to record as soon as you possibly can.

Ultimately a charming and fun night out, we can only wish that the Menier hadn’t left our bottoms feeling quite so numb with it’s uncomfortable benches and squashed seating. Next time we’ll take a cushion.

‘They’re Playing Our Song’ is in production for a limited run from now until 28 September at Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark. Tickets are £25 and avaliable here.

Hated it: West End Whingers, Web Cow Girl
Kind of liked it: Paul in London.

DJ Setlist

Here’s what I played at Miss-Shapes on Thursday night:

1145 – 0100

MGMT – Time To Pretend
Justice – DANCE
Inner City – Good Life
CSS – Let’s Make Love
Ting Tings – Shut Up & Let Me Go
Katy Perry – Hot N Cold
Girls Aloud – Jump
Vampire Weekend – A Punk
Foals – Cassius
Bloc Party – Mercury
Primal Scream – Can’t Go Back
Kings of Leon – Molly’s Chambers
Miley Cyrus – See U Again
Le Tigre – Deceptacon
Britney – Slave 4 U
The Saturdays – If This Is Love
Dizzee Rascal – Dance With Me
Solange – I Decided Pt II
Dolly Parton – Jolene

0200 – 0300

The Saturdays – Up
Madonna – Burning up
Kylie – In My Arms
MGMT – Kids
Annie – Songs That Remind Me Of You
Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam
Daft Punk – Robot Rock
Chemical Brothers – Galvanise
MIA – Jimmy
Santogold – LES Artistes
CSS – Move
No Doubt – Hella Good
Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper
Ike & Tina – Nutbush City Limits
Gloria Estefan – Doctor Beat
Cheryl Lynn – Got To Be Real
Frankie Valli – Beggin
Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke
Kate Bush – Babooska

Gwenno Goes Solo

When Gwenno Saunders joined The Pipettes, we were outraged. Who was this polished blonde stunner ruining the quirkiness of our new favourite girl group? Now she’s the only Pips v2.0 member left, and we love her.

Early on in the Pipettes days Gwenno began posting songs on her myspace page. The first was the uber cute ‘Lime Cordial’ but more recently she’s released a whole mini EP that’s been offered up for free download.

Perfectly described by the lady herself as ‘Ace of Base produced by The Postal Service’ with a hint of Hot Chip, the EP is a calm ride through some laid back electronic pop. Drum machines and programmed keys make up most of the music, and Gwenno’s sweet voice shines through.

Here’s my two favourite tracks:

She’s Got Me On Her Mind [MP3]
You & I [MP3]