The Goodbye Girl

Previewed 14 April 1997, Opened 17 April 1997, Closed 28 June 1997 at the Albery Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre)

Paula McFadden is an attractive 33 year-old ex-Broadway dancer with a succession of failed relationships behind her, mainly because she is fatally attracted to actors who are not exactly known for their stability! As the latest departee leaves her to pursue a movie career in Italy, she vows that relationships with the acting fraternity are no longer for her! That is until due to unforseen (and exceptionally funny) circumstances she has to share her (two bedroomed) apartment with yet another aspiring thespian, Elliot Garfield.

A ten year-old daughter with various schoolmates, a less than accomodating landlady, motley members of a dance class, an off-off-off-Broadway producer and a performance (at least, in part!) of 'Richard III', the likes of which Shakespeare himself wouldn't recognise - all combine with 'The Goodbye Girl' and her reluctant lodger to make this both a funny and yet also most touching of musical plays.

The cast features Gary Wilmot as 'Elliot Garfield' and Ann Crumb as 'Paula McFadden' with Shezwae Powell. A musical play by Neil Simon, with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by David Zippell and additional lyrics by Don Black. Directed by Rob Bettinson with musical staging by Tudor Davies, designs by Robert Jones, lighting by Jenny Cane and sound by John Leonard. This production has been drastically rewritten from the production recently seen on Broadway, it is also being staged in a smaller theatre than on Broadway. Rob Bettinson's West End credits include Leonardo the Musical at the Strand Theatre in 1993.

"In the opening scene, Paula, The Goodbye Girl of the title, realises she's been dumped by her actor boyfriend. He has left her without saying goodbye to play a part in a movie, in response to which she picks up one of his stray trainers, strokes it longingly and breaks into soppy song. Now I would have hurled the wretched, stinking thing out of the window of the apartment and spat on anything else the lousy rotter had left lying around, and I'd put money on it that you would have done the same. Unfortunately, false notes such as this are the only ones that ring in your mind in an otherwise instantly forgettable, witless musical comedy... It could have been a deliciously nostalgic play upon old-fashioned musical romance, but it's dismal - am-dram meets Cecil B de Mille on a creaky flight of steps - despite Wilmot's big-hearted, engaging Elliot. The problem is that for all their sparring, there isn't the tiniest spark between Wilmot and Ann Crumb's pretty-voiced Paula. And what's more the children in the show sound like they are singing through helium. Grim." The Mail on Sunday

"One of the best songs in The Goodbye Girl is Good News, Bad News, written by Marvin Hamlisch and David Zippel and retained from the Broadway flop stage musical of the Neil Simon movie. Well, the good news now is that the scintillating Ann Crumb and Gary Wilmot, at his versatile best, are perfectly charming as the disillusioned single mother and the ambitious actor thrown together as flat-mates in New York. And there is another very fine song too: The Future Isn't What It Used To Be, by Hamlisch and Don Black, who have contributed a largely new score. The bad news is that Rob Bettinson's lavish production has no bite, and is rarely moving, either. So goodbye, girl." The New of the World

"Gary Wilmot says hello to The Goodbye Girl and works his socks off in a desperate bid to make their meeting memorable. What he lacks in charisma, playing a struggling actor in New York, he makes up for with boundless energy and enthusiasm. But it would take a lot more than boyish charm to turn Neil Simon's tearful play into a hit musical. Ann Crumb is on a hiding to nothing as the dumped American divorcee with a smart-ass daughter in tow. The show sinks into a cesspit of sentimentality and slapstick and there are no big numbers to save it. The songs are feel-good but forgettable." The Daily Mirror

The Goodbye Girl in London at the ALbery Theatre, previewed from 14 April 1997, opened on 17 April 1997 and closed on 28 June 1997