Based on the beloved television show and starring Tom Bennett, Paul Whitehouse and Ryan Hutton, does this musical win over the critics?
Evening Standard: **** “In an era of international musicals, this unashamedly British night out is a change and a treat.”
WhatsOnStage: *** “Despite its flaws, it’s refreshing to see a new musical that, probably for the first time since Our House, revels in its London setting and unapologetic Britishness. Plus it’s often laugh-out-loud funny. Cushty.”
The Guardian: *** “The finest collection of vintage gags on the London stage should allow the show to make a fair amount of what Del Boy calls “lovely jubbly”. But, as a musical, a few too many of the songs are, to borrow again from the Trotter lingo, plonkers.”
The Mirror: “The set, costumes and score are fab, and every performance is pukka. And, if the plot’s a bit iffy, who cares?”
The Sun: ***** “packs in as much fun as a beano to Margate while wearing a Kiss Me Quick hat.”
The Stage: *** “Bennett miraculously manages to make David Jason’s verbal tics and malapropisms – all the “bon jours” and “mange touts” – his own, while layering on the charm and warmth. He’s really impressive in this regard, while Whitehouse, always good at playing old codgers, is an oddly affecting Grandad, with shades of his Fast Show character Unlucky Alf. Peter Baker’s Trigger is also good value.”
Chortle.co.uk: *** 1/2 “The Only Fools And Horses musical might be as much hooky as it is cushty, but it’s got an excellent cast, and if the show can appeal to the legions who love the sitcom, this time next year, the producers will be millionaires.”
Gaytimes: **** “The witty script allayed our concerns about the humour being potentially dated and repetitive, resulting in an entertaining and enjoyable nostalgia fest. This production will obviously appeal to fans of the original series, but an in-depth knowledge of the TV show is not a prerequisite – for hardcore fans, or those with just a casual awareness of the series, this is an entertaining night out either way.”
The Independent: *** “The show is entertaining; it’s not a disgrace; I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. But “lovely jubbly”? Really? Don’t be a plonker.”
The Spy in the Stalls: **** “Where the show may be occasionally lacking in the musical department, it makes up for in its barrage of vintage comedy, cleverly bypassing any of the derogatory ‘humour’ of yesteryear. Overall, a pukka production that does a lovely jubbly job at maintaining the heart and soul of a classic.”
West End Wilma: *** “It is more like a musical ‘Best Bits’ special with around an hour of dodgy material screaming out to be cut. This being said, the evening was incredibly enjoyable and some-what worth it just to see Derek Trotter do ‘that’ bar fall.”
Radio Times: *** “It’s good to have a show up West that taps into the best traditions of British humour, without a Trump reference in sight and only a brief passing nod to Brexit, and gives us some good old belly laughs. But like a bit of clobber out of the back of Del’s van, the detail doesn’t stand up to too much scrutiny.”
The Metro: **** “what makes Caroline Jay Ranger’s production more than just a fix for nostalgia addicts is that it transfers from screen to stage the wit and heart of the original series. True, the plot, cherry-picked from TV, has about as much substance as a Trotter Independent Trading Co guarantee.”
Broadway World: **** “If you’re a fan of the original TV series then this show is a guaranteed side-splitter and a great bit of escapism; it remains absolutely true to the spirit of the programme, celebrating London and its people with a musical twist.”
Only Fools and Horses the Musical continues to play at Theatre Royal Haymarket.