Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Playhouse

It is almost 60 years since Howard Keele sang ‘Bless Your Beautiful Hide’ as Adam Pontipee in the MGM film. Last night, the audience responded enthusiastically to a young and multi-talented cast of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on the stage of the Edinburgh Playhouse.

From the opening scene, the dancers displayed faultless timing and energy in the dance sequences, of which there were many, throughout the 2 hour performance. Petticoats twirled and flounced; boots stomped and kicked in seamless sequences of acrobatics, ballet, old-time square dancing and even some tap. They made it seem so easy – the brothers even get a chance to remove their shirts (not once, but twice!) to show toned and fit bodies! All superbly choreographed by Patti Colombo.

Helena Blackman, as Millie, is strong and feisty. As the thread that connects all the characters, she plays the part confidently and her voice is a real joy to hear. At times, her voice, confidence and presence slightly overshadow the very able Sam Attwater as Adam Pontipee. ‘Love Never Goes Away’ sung by Millie, Adam and brother Gideon is excellent.

The transformation of the Pontipee brothers from uncouth backwoodsmen to lovelorn suitors is funny and touching as Millie succeeds in making them a little more civilised. The girls on the other hand are more than willing to be wooed and when Adam organises an Oregon version of the ‘Abduction of the Sabine Women’, the girls don’t struggle too much! The jilted boys from the town demonstrate their outrage in a wonderful display of dance and acrobatics.

As with all shows from the Golden Age of the Hollywood Musical, there is always a happy ending . . . as well as an audience that keeps on clapping and whistling and lots of well-deserved curtain calls!

Maureen Dalgleish