Review: White Christmas at The Lowry, Salford Quays

WHITE CHRISTMAS/The Lowry, Salford Quays, until January 9

REVIEW/by Peggy Woodcock

WRAPPED in red, trimmed with fur, tied with tinsel, sprinkled with snowflakes – that was Christmas at The Lowry, Salford Quays, on Tuesday.

White Christmas had the lot, a musical show with big names, glamorous chorus, gorgeous costumes, sentimental songs, snazzy dance routines and a daft romantic story. The guys got the girls and we all got to singalong with Aled Jones.

The singer and TV personality joined up with dance star Adam Cooper, of Billy Elliott fame, to add weight to a show with a lot of charm, if not much substance. You disengaged your brain for this evening's entertainment. It was a case of sit back and wallow!

So these two blokes left the army and became a famous song and dance double act. They met up with a sister act and set off on the bumpy road to love. All four end up in snowy Vermont where the innkeeper was their old general and he was in trouble....

Get the drift? Rescue operation went under way and it all ended happily ever after with a rousing finale that included, of course, White Christmas, and most of the stalls under, if not a drift, then a fair covering of snowflakes that really were white and wet. Lovely.

This was a slick show, moving seamlessly between big, lavish set scenes and the smaller conversations while it was all moving around behind the curtains. Army camp, nightclub, Ed Sullivan in New York, on the train, barn in Vermont, no problem.

It flowed to some great songs, Irving Berlin classics including Blue Skies, How Deep is the Ocean, Happy Holidays, with music from a live orchestra.

Jones and Cooper cut fine figures in some sharp suits and they kept the charm level high, ably partnered by the sister act, Suzanne Shaw and Rachel Stanley, in a succession of flirty fifties frocks.

The show played to their strengths so Jones and Stanley took the big songs and Cooper and Shaw the dazzling dance routines. The former were in good voice and it was well worth the trip to Salford just to see the sublime I Love A Piano tap routine by a flying Cooper and Shaw.

Veteran Roy Dotrice as General Henry Waverly led a strong cast which included some great stock characters, two of them absolute scene stealers.

So final applause to Louise Plowright as Martha Watson, the larger than life inn manager, with great voice and timing, and star in the making, Emily Fitton, precociously talented as the general's granddaughter, Susan.