The Glenn Miller Story @ The Kings Theatre Glasgow

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Photograph: 'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC

Genre: Musical

Venue: The Kings Theatre Glasgow

Website: The Glenn Miller Story – ATG Tickets

Directed by: Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright

Lowdown

The story of composer, arranger, musician, and band leader Glenn Miller from his uncertain beginning to the mystery of his ending.

Review

Directed by Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright The Glenn Miller Story swings into Glasgow and brings back an era that is often sadly forgotten. The legendary British entertainer Tommy Steele brings his uniqueness to the role of composer, arranger, musician, and band-leader Glenn Miller, aiding a wonderfully old-fashioned stye of entertainment.

The story depicts the life of Miller from the start of his incredible career which came about from auditioning to be in an orchestra heading out on a long tour. Miller’s unorthodox  arrangements make him both a nuisance and a genius and from here his name begins to grow. Miller was focused on creating “the “sound” to give the  orchestra personality. In time he found it by harmonising the clarinet and saxophone, a revolutionary musical tactic that most definitely paid off. It wasn’t always easy – Miller was often broke and struggling to find people who would understand his ways but with the support of his wife, Helen, and his own tenacity he made a success of himself and The Glenn Miller Orchestra became a worldwide phenomena. In 1944, while heading out to Paris to bring music to the troops stationed there, the plane Miller was traveling on vanished over the English Channel and was  never seen again, beginning one of the worlds biggest mysteries.

Tommy Steele is wonderful as Miller, incredibly energetic and full of personality. This is an even more impressive performance given his age is close to 80. There is a genuine warmth between Steele and Sarah Soetaert, who plays his wife Helen Burger, and amongst the entire cast. There are a few pitching buy generic accutane online issues amongst some of the vocals and at times the choreography could really do with tightening up, but these issues do not spoil what is an immensely fun production. There are a lot of sorrows within the story of Glenn Miller though these are not the focus of this retelling, the music is what is important. The band perform the songs – many of them Miller classics – fantastically as they mix in with the story, songs such as: ‘Without you’, ‘Sing,Sing,Sing’, ‘Moonlight Serenade’, ‘Chattanooga Choo Cho’, ‘At Last, The Nearness of You’, ‘In The Mood, Get Happy’, ‘Pennsylvania 6-5000’, and finishing off with ‘Little Brown Jug’.

The set is simple with lighting which creates a cosy atmosphere. The small toy bus that roams the stage to convey the touring of the band is at once ridiculous in its smallness on the large stage and brilliantly quaint. The linking of song and story is very well balanced, while the focus is on the music and nothing is lost with the telling of the story. A small medley of songs follows the main performance with Tommy Steele bringing his incredible charisma to the stage, in true British style, and even pulls the cast back from their dressing rooms for an encore.

On a personal note I was transported back to Sunday afternoons of my childhood watching old musicals and Tommy Steele films with my grandparents and also listening to records by Glenn Miller. This may have enhanced my enjoyment of it, but my plus-1 for the night – who was totally unfamiliar with Glenn Miller – enjoyed it as much as I did. While it may be a predominantly older crowd that will appreciate the music and story, the joy, warmth, and talent is strong enough to allow any audience to appreciate this production.

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Christine Lawler 42 Articles
Christine has a passion for literature and has been a closeted writer since childhood. Other passions include theatre, film, and all things geeky. She lives in Glasgow with a cat named Molls and a tortoise named Haruki Kabuki.

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