This was one that just went ‘Strolling Along’ all night, never really getting off the ground.
It had all the ingredients to be a good night: a tribute evening to Doris Day, America’s definitive ‘girl next door’ and one of the greatest stars of all time; some of the biggest hits of the 1950s; and in Aileen Donohoe, a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice with plenty of West End experience.
But while we were invited to celebrate the songs with Donohoe as she prepared to meet her ‘Secret Love’, from the off it all seemed a little flat.
There were probably three reasons for that — the auditorium lights were never dimmed, resulting in a poor overall atmosphere; the sound needed a bit more oomph and Donohoe never encouraged a sing-along here and there, even though one could tell it was what a mostly ‘senior’ audience was looking for.
‘Que Sera, Sera’, ‘On Moonlight Bay’, ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’ and songs from the hit musicals Calamity Jane and The Pyjama Game lifted the mood every now and then as Donohoe worked her socks off, talking to the audience from her cosy livingroom about her date with ‘A Secret Love’, all in an effort to take you back to the golden age of Hollywood. But, for me, the production of ‘It’s Magic!’ just lacked a little... magic.
Donohoe is an accomplished and honest entertainer, but on the night was no Doris Day. One would have loved to have seen a replica of the high energy, Hollywood star, belting out ‘Deadwood Stage (Whip Crack Away)’, with gusto. Sadly, it proved to be a rather un-sentimental journey on the night.
A one song encore probably summed up the pleasant but uninspiring evening.