A Saint She Ain't

Previewed 16 September 1999, Opened 22 September 1999, Closed 15 January 2000 at the Apollo Theatre in London

The new musical comedy A Saint She Ain't in London written by Dick Vosburgh and Denis King

Los Angeles in the 1940's - Anna wishes to defy her father and marry a tap-dancing sailor called Danny - complications and cross-purposes ensue when Mr and Mrs Bogle (not a million miles from WC Fields and Mae West) get in on the act. Mayhem and madness abound as mistaken identities, crazy complications, snappy songs and non-stop laughter ensue. Played fast and furious by an ensemble cast with loads of tongue-in-cheek musical mirthfulness, this promises to be an evening of dextrous delight.

Loosely based on Le Cocu Imaginaire by Moliere, this is a pastiche of the Hollywood film musicals of the 1940's and features the most popular stars of this era. Written by Dick Vosburgh with music by Denis King. Dick Vosburgh's West End credits include the musical Windy City.

The cast for A Saint She Ain't in London features Barry Cryer, Pauline Daniels, Brian Greene, Rae Baker, Gavin Lee, Vincent Marzello and Michael Roberts and Corinna Powlesland. Directed by Ned Sherrin with choreography by Lindsay Dolan, designs by Paul Farnsworth, lighting by Mark Henderson and musical arrangements by Chris Walker and Denis King. This production transfers to London's West End following a sell-out season at the King's Head Theatre in North London.

"As Mae West almost asked, is that a pun in your pocket or are you pleased to see me? Certainly the answer offered by this delightful spoof of 1940s Hollywood musicals is yes, and yes again. Puns, quips, doubles-entendres, malapropisms and jolly repartee seem to come pouring out of every part of the stage, from the palm trees to (yes) the characters' pockets; and the feeling is so ebulliently welcoming we found ourselves helplessly chortling at what we might have sniffily dismissed as Christmas-cracker silliness... Imagine Cole Porter contributing to a collaboration between Groucho Marx and Irving Berlin, and you have some of the rhymes and much of the feel. My expectations, I admit, were less high. Perky musicals that succeed in a friendly pub-theatre - and this comes from the King's Head - can look a bit tin pot in the West End. Moreover, I wasn't hugely taken with the idea of bringing on characters evoking West, W.C. Fields, Jimmy Durante, Abbott and Costello, Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly to perform a sentimental romp about sailors in town. It sounded nostalgic and irritatingly knowing. It sounded a pain. Well, nostalgic it is, but a pain it isn't, thanks to Ned Sherrin's refusal to let his production get excessively self-parodying, to King's period hums, and, above all, to Vosburgh's unstoppable words. The plot is predictably preposterous... Did we laugh? You bet we did." The Times

"Veteran showbiz star Barry Cryer made his first appearance in the musical Expresso Bongo in 1958. And it has taken 41 years for him to make his second - probably because he has a face more suited to radio than the West End stage. But the star of Radio 4s long-running panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue is perfectly at home as a WC Fields lookalike in this gloriously funny send-up of '40s Hollywood musicals. Cryer is in his element as bulbous-nosed boozer Snaveley T Bogle, with lyrics courtesy of the celebrated gag merchant Dick Vosburgh, who has written material for everyone from Bob Hope to Barrymore. But the showstopper is Pauline Daniels as Mae West clone Faye Bogle who packs a treasure chest of sexual innuendo into the Banana For My Pie number. Go and see her. You won't be disappointed." The Daily Mirror

"I cannot pretend that the short bus ride from Islington to Shaftesbury Avenue in London's West End has been especially beneficial to A Saint She Ain't. Writer/lyricist Dick Vosburgh and composer Denis King's 1940s movies-based musical worked best in the confines of the smashing King's Head pub theatre... On a bigger stage, and facing a large auditorium, the zany story involving characters based on such old-time film favourites as Jimmy Durante, Abbot and Costello and W.C. Fields loses some of its fizz. Still, it would be churlish to suggest there is still not much to enjoy in Ned Sherrin's production-particularly Pauline (Mae West) Daniels' near show-stopping The Banana For My Pie, highly-suggestive and very funny." The News of the World

"This is theatre for the antique end of the market; ideal for the specialist collectors of Technicolor Forties Hollywood memorabilia. Dick Vosburgh's good-natured pastiche musical almost blew the roof off the rickety old King's Head Theatre in Islington where it opened last spring, but I suspect that says more about the clientele (similarly rickety) than the show. It has now moved to the larger and less forgiving Apollo, where it is revealed as more wince-some than winsome... As a homage it could not be more affectionate. The paper-thin plot involves a muddle-up in which Barry Cryer's bulbous-nosed W. C. Fields mistakenly suspects his wife, Faye, of having an affair with a young sailor. Vosburgh's lyrics parody Cole Porter with wit and inventiveness; Ned Sherrin, the director, is in his vaudeville, music-hall element; and the gags, desperate puns and appalling malapropisms just keep on coming." The Mail on Sunday

A Saint She Ain't in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 16 September 1999, opened on 22 September 1999 and closed on 15 January 2000