I’ve been intending on seeing this show for ages, in part because the charismatic Ralph Bogard (of Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens) was in it, but I completely missed it during its initial run at the Hope Theater thanks to serious panto conflict. Thankfully, it got a transfer to the suitably divey Charing Cross theater, but its culty, late night start time (10PM!!!) was keeping me away, despite the offer of comps. Argh! Finally, though, Ushers became the main show rather than a sideshow attraction, and with a completely sensible 8 PM start time I was finally able to visit (sadly Ralph had moved on to the Globe, which he no doubt sees as a step up but which I deeply regret). I was more than happy to pay full price (seriously, £15 tickets are right in my sweet spot) for what I was hoping would be a fun night out.
And, it turns out, this was jolly – finally, a comedy with jokes I can get! The fun lasted well beyond the first song (about what it’s like being an usher), with references to the West End Whingers, current popular musicals, universal audience shortcomings, and the insular world of theatrical luvviedom. We had at least three plots going on, one of them a really poignant one for the performing arts crowd – how do you balance a career that requires travel with a romantic commitment? – and I was caught up in the backstage machinations of the house manager as he attempted to bully or sexually harass pretty much every member of the team. The choreography wasn’t really at a West End level of polish, but it was more than suitable and added to the comedy nicely. Frankly, this was a better executed show than Pyjama Game – and it certainly had heart …. miles and miles and miles of heart … miles and miles of Roxie Hart! Er, well, I think I’m taking the trope just a little to far, but you get what I mean. Come to Ushers: The Musica when you want to forget about your troubles and have a laugh – in that, it succeeds as a perfect little musical for even a hardcore West End burnout like me.
(This review is for a performance that took place on Wednesday May 28 2014. It continues through June 6th.)