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CAROLINE CULOT Norwich Theatre Royal

CAROLINE CULOT

Sam Kane takes the lead in one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's darker and more difficult musicals.

The actor – Linda Lusardi's other half famed for playing the camp hairdresser in Brookside – proved himself. And put him in a different show and could he have shined even more? With a singing voice and tall, athletic frame to die for, Kane fitted the role of the Billy Bigelow in many ways. But somehow he seemed just a bit too nice to convince as the wife-beater.

The show lacked pace at the outset, though picked up well with If I Loved You when Kane exploded into song – and my, has he got a wonderful voice with a good range and plenty of emotion. Jane Mark and Lynsey Britton as Julie Jordan and friend Carrie both had excellent, operatic singing voices, and understudy Robert Armstrong, last night playing Jigger after actor Geoffrey Abbott broke his hand, proved himself worthy of a permanent leading role. Choreographed by Wayne Sleep, there were some foot-tapping ensemble routines from the girls in the well-known June is Bustin' Out All Over and the boys in Blow High, Blow Low. There was also a delightful ballet sequence.

Of course, the show boasts the famous song now more familiar on the football terraces, You'll Never Walk Alone.

As a child, I was brought up on Rodgers and Hammerstein shows, albeit amateur productions, and this was never my favourite. I'm afraid to say that it is still not my favourite.

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Carousel's light-hearted song and dance just does not sit well with the darker issue of domestic violence. Also, at two and a half hours minus the interval, it's long. Having said that, is still a good night out at the theatre – and it is the show, by no means the cast, which I am critical of.

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