Review - White Christmas at the Dominion Theatre
If there's a sense of deja vu to seeing White Christmas - the ultimate seasonal musical filler - at the Dominion Theatre, that's only because we have actually been here before. After previously touring the UK over earlier Christmas seasons between 2006 and 2011, that augmented stage version of the 1954 film classic first came to the Dominion in 2014 in a production starring Aled Jones and Tom Chambers that was based on a new version led by an American creative team that had also toured the US and had two Broadway Christmas runs in 2008 and 2009.
That same Christmas of 2014, however, British director Nikolai Foster staged yet another version of White Christmas at West Yorkshire Playhouse (now Leeds Playhouse); and returned to it last year at Leicester's Curve, with Stephen Mear replacing the original Leeds choreographer Nick Winston.
There's clearly no keeping a title that speaks so warmly of Christmas down, as this production now arrives again at the Dominion. And even if this barn-like space inevitably drains the show of some energy, there's no mistaking the warm glow that spreads over the audience as this familiar story of an attempt to rescue a Vermont ski lodge, plagued by a fatal lack of snow, plays out with that old reliable solution: why not put on a show instead?
Theatre as a rescue remedy for all ills has a timeless appeal; and of course so does the hit parade of gorgeous Irving Berlin melodies, drawn both from the original film and elsewhere in his immense catalogue. The West End has just seen & Juliet re-purpose a set of contemporary pop hits for a new musical; White Christmas is a sturdily old-fashioned version of a jukebox musical of genuine classics.
And they're given expert renderings by a cast of delightful singers and dancers. Danny Mac and Dan Burton - sometimes difficult to tell apart - are both as charming as they are accomplished, as two army friends Bob and Phil who come to the rescue of their former General, now running the Vermont ski lodge. There's an equally old-school elegance and class to Danielle Hope and Clare Halse as the women who fall under their spell. Amidst a generously large company, Brenda Edwards is also a stand-out as the General's right-hand woman at the lodge.
As an opportunity to bask in a festive soundtrack, there's hardly a more lovely show in town.
White Christmas tickets are available now.