All Star Productions based at Ye Olde Rose and Crown in Walthamstow are known for their productions of forgotten classics, and Face the Music, an early work written by Irving Berlin and Moss Hart, is one such. It’s a light story, a musical about making a musical, a forerunner to The Producers with a great deal of charm.
An unusually cheery show given the context of the Great Depression, it follows a producer, Hal Reisman, struggling to find investment given that once-rich investors no longer have the money. Instead, Reisman turns to corrupt policemen who need to get rid of their money quickly. Laurel Dougall and David Anthony steal the show as the police couple the Meshbeshers, while Alessandra Lubrano as Pat and Joanna Hughes as Kit perform well as the lead romantic couple. Joanne Clifton, best known for her work on Strictly Come Dancing, also does a great job as a chorus girl bent on seducing the police to ensure her place in the show.
Directed by Brendan Matthew, this is a lovely, hugely enjoyable show that should appeal to anyone with an interest in old-time musicals.