H. R. HAITCH | London, Union Theatre

This extraordinarily silly fringe musical for six singers and a piano satirises the politics of 2011-2012, and today, in the manner of a classic British musical comedy: think Oliver!; think My Fair Lady. Mixed-race, pub landlord’s daughter Chelsea (Tori Allen-Martin) wants to marry charming dope Prince Bertie (Christian James). But how on earth is Chelsea going to fit in with the royal family?

Best-selling children’s author Maz Evans is also a wickedly clever lyricist for adults, with a particular showstopper sung by saucy sexagenarian working-girl Vera (Andrea Miller). Luke Bateman’s music, played on a real pub piano (musical director and arranger Oli Rew) captures the style perfectly with a strong score of well-crafted songs.

With a cast of only six, everyone plays both a “toff” and a “chav”: a powerful theatrical device that weighs down the mad panto characterisations with a healthy dose of social commentary. Chelsea’s salt-of-the-Earth pub landlord father serving jellied eels in Barking is also a Prince Charles parody in the palace (Christopher Lyne).

Whip-fast direction (Daniel Winder) and hilarious choreography (Lily Howkins) means the two and a half hours fly by in a roar of nostalgia. It’s not going to transfer to the West End any time soon, but the deafening audience response from the sold-out crowd is more than recommendation enough for this new, camp-as-Christmas classic.

The right royal musical comedy continues until 2 June 2018.

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