Over My Shoulder: The Story of Jessie Matthews

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Opened 28 October 2003, closed 8 November 2003 at the Wyndham's Theatre in London

Strictly Limited Two Week Season!

Musical by Richard Stirling that tells the story of Britain's first international film star. In the 1920s and '30s Jessie Matthews high-kicked her way out of the back streets of Soho onto the cinema screens of the world in films like Evergreen and It's Love Again. Later, she became a household name all over again in the famous radio series Mrs Dale's Diary. But behind the glamour, her ghosts never ceased to haunt her. Features all of Jessie's best-loved hits: Dancing on the Ceiling, Let's Do It, Gangway and, ofcourse, Over My Shoulder

Anne Rodgers stars as 'Jessie Matthews'. Anne is the original star of The Boy Friend and performed in the first ever USA tour of My Fair Lady. Young Jessie is played by Jo Gibb, who has performed in Chicago, and returns to Over My Shoulder following her performances in The Rat Pack. This production originated at the Jermyn Street Theatre.

"This pleasant, harmless musical begins with a tall, distinguished-looking woman alone onstage. Wearing a coat that might have been woven from the red flock wallpaper you find in Indian restaurants, she begins to sing Coward's Room with a View. And who is she? The actress Anne Rogers, who has been too long absent from the British stage, playing Jessie Matthews, who has been too long absent from the British consciousness... Basically, this is a compendium show, redeemed by good songs, sprightly tap dancing and the effortlessly elegant Rogers... A pity, for she deserved and deserves to be remembered for what Anne Rogers does at the evening's end: smile, high-kick and belt out tune after tune with terrific brio." The Times

"To an older generation Jessie Matthews was up there with Ivor Novello. Very pretty, with high notes and high kicks to match, she was the first girl to dazzle British audiences with Cole Porter's Let's Do It. In Richard Stirling's under-seasoned, undercooked and underwhelming musical collation, Over Your Shoulder, a slight fringe show now desperately overexposed in the West End, you will learn this and a tiny bit more: that Jessie married cads, went to Broadway, starred in a musical movie or two and had a nervous breakdown. Then she decided she was sick of high kicks and wanted to go home. Which she did, only to wander miraculously into wireless, as the doctor's wife and quintessence of middleclass respectability in Mrs Dale's Diary. Blink and you'll miss the misery in this shallow show which concentrates on survival rather than defeat. It starts in 1970 with Anne Rogers' older, wiser Jessie reflecting on her past while she waits for the Queen to present her with an OBE which, she jokes, stands for 'old but energetic'. We then see little Jessie drag herself out of Berwick Street market, have her cockney accent ironed out, Eliza Doolittle-style, and triumph on stage and screen. Cue Jo Gibbs's bright-eyed, ballet dancing Jessie playing anything from a fluffy chicken to Gertrude Lawrence's arch rival. So the gentle stroll down memory lane goes on, revisiting some much-loved prehistoric numbers such as A Room With A View. Just as Jessie enters her calmer twilight years, Miss Rogers jumps into a gold lame catsuit and taps her way gamely into our sentimental old hearts." The Mail on Sunday

Over My Shoulder: The Story of Jessie Matthews in London at the Wyndham's Theatre opened on 28 October 2003 and closed on 8 November 2003.