Southwark Playhouse is known for reviving lesser-known musicals, and Allegro, an early effort by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, is their most recent project: this production actually marks the show’s professional stage premiere in London, nearly 70 years after it was staged on Broadway. It was an attempt to tell the story of one man’s life, the man in question being Joseph Taylor Jr., the son of a small-town doctor. Joe seems destined to follow in his father’s footsteps, but is this what is really in store for him?
Allegro suffers from having no really memorable songs, other than “The Gentleman Is A Dope”, sung by the nurse during the second act. However, a talented cast give it their all, particularly Gary Tushaw as the central character, Julia J Nagle as his mother and Katie Bernstein as the nurse. There’s some effective stage work on a traverse setting and director Thom Southerland has done his best to bring the production to life.
It’s not hard to see why Allegro wasn’t a big hit, but this strong production at Southwark makes it worth seeing.