REVIEW: Mack & Mabel, London Musical Theatre Orchestra, Hackney Empire

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra made their East London debut with a spectacular and lively performance of Mack and Mabel that thrilled audiences from beginning to end. 

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Just when you think that the London Musical Theatre Orchestra couldn’t put anymore into their performances, they up their game once again with this wonderful performance of Mack and Mabel; filled with wonderful characterisations, dancing and of course a score that is brought to life vividly.

Featuring music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, Mack and Mabel is a story of fame, love and ultimately tragedy. Centring around the conflicting relationship between the two title characters, the story shows Mabel’s rise to fame in the film industry with the help of director Mack Sennett as well as the pair’s conflicting relationship with its many ups and downs.

This is all gorgeously brought to life thanks to the London Musical Theatre Orchestra’s richly textured performance of the score and Shaun Kerrison’s lively production that has plenty to make the audience laugh throughout.

Throughout there are as Freddie Tapner said at the beginning ‘plenty of surprises’ throughout that make this a delight to watch – not least Anthony Whiteman’s wonderful  choreography for ‘Hundreds of Girls’ , which saw a huge number of dancers dancing in the aisles. There were also a number of other little moments dotted throughout that revealed just how much fun everybody involved had in working on this concert performance – including Jack Edwards taking over conducting duties for brief spell and a number of little off-hand asides that were a delight.

But as always, the London Musical Theatre Orchestra have once again managed to bring together a wonderful cast to bring the characters to life. Leading the way as Mabel, Natasha J Barnes delivers an extraordinary performance – delightfully funny in terms of personality but also completely heart wrenching vocally as her outstanding rendition of ‘Time Heals Everything’ more than proves (gaining her a deserved standing ovation). She is warm, sophisticated and a delight to watch.

Tiffany Graves also delivers a strong performance as Lottie – suitably feisty and wonderful in terms of her comic timing, she has great presence and charisma on stage particularly seen during her performance of ‘Tap Your Troubles Away’.

Meanwhile, David Bedella as Mack provides a wonderfully charismatic performance as the conflicted character who is never really too sure of what he wants until it is too late, while Jack Edwards and Liam Tamne also provide solid support.

While it is clear that the cast are having fun, it is equally clear that the orchestra themselves are having a ball, performing the score with enthusiasm and energy as particularly seen during ‘Hit ‘Em on the Head’ and ‘I Wanna Make the World Laugh’ for example. Freddie Tapner conducts with his usual flair and really gets involved with the performance.

Energetic and fun, everything about this performance was stylish and delightful to watch.  A wonderful score and a delight to watch from beginning to end, it was a concert that you really didn’t want to end.

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra’s next performance will be Alan Menken’s A Christmas Carol at the Lyceum Theatre. For more information visit:

Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

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