Previewed 16 July 2015 Opened 23 July 2015, Closed 29 August 2015 at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park in London
A major revival of the classic musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on stage in London for a strictly limited season at the Open Air Theatre.
Set in Oregon in 1850 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is the story of Adam, the eldest of seven brothers, who goes to town to get a wife. He convinces Milly to marry him that same day. They return to his backwoods home. Only then does she discover he has six brothers - all living in his cabin. Milly sets out to reform the uncouth siblings, who are anxious to get wives of their own. But, after reading about the Roman capture of the Sabine women, Adam develops an inspired solution to his brothers' loneliness... kidnap the women they want!
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a glorious romp, brimful of hand clapping effervescent energy, dazzling dance routines and smash hit showstoppers by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul, it perfectly integrates song, dance, and story. Featuring classic songs including Bless Your Beautiful Hide, Goin' Courtin', Wonderful Wonderful Day, and the dance spectacular, Barn Dance.
This production is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with choreography by Alistair David and set and costume designs by Peter McKintosh. With book by Lawrence Kasha and David S Landsay, music by Gene de Paul and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. New songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirshhorn. Based on the MGM film and 'The Sobbin' Women' by Stephen Vincent Benet. Originally directed on Broadway by Lawrence Kasha. Rachel Kavanaugh's West End directing credits include the new musical Love Story adapted from the novel by Erich Segal (Duchess Theatre 2010).
When this production opened here in July 2015, Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard highlighted that "the Open Air Theatre is so delightfully good at revivals of classic musicals that its offerings in this department have become a firm fixture on the summer cultural calendar. Seven Brides, the stage version of the daft classic 1954 film, continues on this triumphant path in Rachel Kavanaugh’s playful, confident production... The ensemble dances up a storm and Alex Gaumond and Laura Pitt-Pulford make an engaging leading pair." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times commented how "the idea of such a tale may offend 21st-century sensibilities, but the execution of it is thoroughly disarming." Claire Allfree in the Daily Telegraph explained how "Rachel Kavanaugh's revival neither glosses over the antediluvian gender politics nor attempts a revisionist resolution and if you can take it on its own terms, this is a joyful evening... This is a musical that wins over its audience by charm... still, it's the song and dance numbers that really lift this show... The back stage live band serves up an irresistible soundscape of foot-tapping twang and thrum." Paul Taylor in the Independent praised how "Rachel Kavanaugh infuses this stage version of the 1954 MGM musical with genuine charm and high spirits, mischievously highlighting the sexual chemistry between the brothers and the girls who here wittily collude in their abduction as a way of escaping boredom... Alistair David's choreography is exhilarating throughout... while the songs have never sounded so brimming with good humour." Sam Marlowe in the Times described how "Rachel Kavanaugh's production tackles the eye-popping sexism with knowing wit, while the bouncing score of jaunty hoe-downs and sweet ballads by Gene De Paul, Al Kasha, Joel Hirschhorn and the lyricist Johnny Mercer sounds irresistible. And if you still had any objections, Alistair David's barnstorming choreography is so packed with nimble charm, exuberance and athleticism that it leaves you too breathless to complain... The whole thing's as silly as can be, and by rights it shouldn't work at all — but dang it, it's terrific fun." Michael Billington in the Guardian wrote that, "while it may not exactly be in tune with modern gender politics, it comes off well in Rachel Kavanaugh's production thanks to some exhilarating dancing... the show, with music by Gene de Paul and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, boasts some good songs. But in the end it’s the choreography, which rivals anything on the London stage, that makes this a musical worth reviving." Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail hailed it as being "a thigh-slapping hoot" with "barn-blitzing choreography from Alistair David." Neil Norman in the Daily Express highlighted that, "thanks to Rachel Kavanaugh's robust direction and Alistair David's spirited choreography, what began as an MGM movie transfers happily to the bucolic setting of Regent's Park... Punchy and raucous, this dinosaur of a show is revived with the tang of buckskin and gunpowder intact."
"Rachel Kavanaugh's frolicking, rollicking, sunny and funny, appropriately barn-storming production of the old MGM favourite bowls you over as surely as the brothers bowl over their brides-to-be at the local town social. The men, banished from the house filled with the girls, share their wooden mountain hut with the cows. If there was a roof over it, the cheery, catchy songs and exuberant dancing would blow it off, countless times. Resistance is futile. It's a wonderful, wonderful day, as one marvellous melody has it. Yee-ha!" The Mail on Sunday
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in London at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre previewed from 16 July 2015, opened on 23 July 2015 and closed on 29 August 2015
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - 2006
Previewed 10 August 2006, Opened 16 August 2006, Closed 18 November 2006 at the Haymarket Theatre in London
The classic musical starring Dave Willetts and Shona Lindsay.
The cast includes - The Brothers: Dave Willetts as 'Adam', Jay Webb as 'Gideon', Owen Woodgate as 'Caleb', Jonathon Stewart as 'Daniel', Sonny Lee Hymas as 'Ephraim', Stuart Marshall as 'Frank' and David Ball as 'Benjamin'. The Brides: Shona Lindsay as 'Milly', Natalie Langston as 'Dorcus', Jessica Punch as 'Ruth', Nikki Stokes as 'Lisa', Lucy Johnson as 'Martha', Grace Harrington as 'Sara' and Claire Louise Connolly as 'Alice'. The Suitors: Sean Hackett as 'Luke', Anthony Kirwan as 'Zeke', Adam Salter as 'Matt', Ian Goss as 'Carl', Ben Harris as 'Joel' and Ewan Jones as 'Jeb'. Along with Richard Colson as 'The Preacher', Andy Rothwellas as 'Mr Bixby', Claire Plattas as 'Mrs Bixby', Mostyn Lawrenceas as 'Mr Perkins', Victoria Gavinas as 'Mrs Perkins', James Farrar, Darren De-Biasi and Kim Harvey. It is directed by Maurice Lane with choreography by Adrian Allsopp, set designs by Charles Camm, costume designs by Natalie Cole, lighting by David Howe and sound by Glen Beckley. This production comes into London's West End following major UK tour.
"This touring production of the musical about the seven American farmers who kidnap seven women to do their skivvying is given rose-tinted nostalgic treatment. Maurice Lane's production is a hearty, thighslapping, cowboy bonanza as wholesome as apple pie and packed with barnstorming choreography. And it's got yee-ha songs to match with such titles as A Woman Ought To Know Her Place and the delicate hymn to femininity Bless Your Beautiful Hide. But, to be fair, the saccharine Love Never Goes Away is careful to cover the sensational chauvinism in romantic candyfloss... The whole things is, in short, utterly preposterous but innocently and endearingly so. Still, a stiff drink beforehand might be needed to gee up your sense of humour." The Mail on Sunday
"What's this silly old musical doing in this of all theatres? Aren't there any plays around? When Stanley Donan's MGM movie was first staged as a musical on Broadway, it was a flop, mainly, I should think, because a story as daft as this wouldn't work with live actors. When the acting is hammy, as it is here, you soon lose all hope... Some of the dancing is good, and Shona Lindsay is a poised and sweet-voiced Milly, but most of the supporting cast are amateurish." The Sunday Times
"The sheer insane zest of the 1954 film from which the musical originates distracted attention from the strangeness of the plot... Maurice Lane's production lacks the film's sharpness. But the brothers leap enthusiastically; the leads, Dave Willetts and Shona Lindsay, deal politely but firmly with Johny Mercer's songs, and this will generally make a pleasant spectacle for those partial to the sight of ripening corn." The Sunday Telegraph
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in London at the Haymarket Theatre previewed from 10 August 2006, opened on 16 August 2006 and closed on 18 November 2006.