Spectacular musical

All The Fun Of The Fair, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne,until

April 7.

ONE OF the most spectacular musicals ever to come to Eastbourne opened at the Congress Theatre on April 3rd.

All the Fun of the Fair starring David Essex has a magnificent fairground set complete with dodgem cars and life-size carousel horses that really do go up and down. Ian Westbrook has designed a fairground to fit into the Congress Theatre and you feel you are at the fair from the moment the curtain rises.

The action takes place at Levi’s Fun Fair in the late 1970s and David Essex not only stars in the show as the grieving widower Levi Lee, he also wrote the music and lyrics, Boogie Nights creator Jon Conway wrote the book.

The show is on tour following a record-breaking West End run at the Garrick Theatre where it was nominated for Best New West End Musical by What’s on Stage.

David Essex has always had an ambition to present a show based around his music and his hit songs such as A Winter’s Tale, Hold Me Close, Gonna Make You A Star and Silver Dream Machine are all there.

He still has terrific stage presence and his great gravelly voice and he richly deserved the cheers he received at the end of the show.

Louise English is superb as the Irish gipsy Rosa and she has a wonderful singing voice.

Levi’s wayward son Jack is played by Rob Compton in his first major role in a musical and he is very well cast. His appearance on a motor bike at the end of the second act which flies out over the audience is the highlight.

Jack’s love interest Alice is well played by Tanya Robb and his jilted girlfriend Mary is equally well played by Susan Hallam-Wright.

Tim Newman repeats his London role as the simple young Johnny which earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the 2011 What’s on Stage Theatregoers’ Choice Awards and it is easy to see why he received the nomination.

The show is very well directed by Danish director Nikolai Foster who is associate director at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds.

This is a rollercoaster ride of fun and excitement, romance and tragedy. Catch it if you can.

Amanda Wilkins