Theatre: State Fair



Sitting down in a darkened space as the sweat runs down your neck, then your back and into lower regions is probably not something you would expect from a night out at the theatre. But it is worth it to see this lively and energetic little production of State Fair playing at the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court. It will have you damp with delight...

State Fair is an odd sort of musical about a pig, a nightclub singer, a boy, a girl, a nightclub singer and the Iowa State Fair. There is an awful lot of mince meat too. It includes cut numbers from other Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals and a book with some of the corniest jokes immaginable. But it all hangs together somehow. It helps too when you also have such a filthy minded audience (or maybe just a Londonist reviewer). People were laughing hysterically after lines such as "I'm going for a pearl necklace in the back row" and "There's a girl who knows her way around a cucumber"...

The cast are all great but I particularly liked Laura Main, who gets to sing "It might as well be Spring", the song which managed to win Rodgers and Hammerstein an Oscar. Here's hoping she has an album in the works. Even in their piano accompaniment, there is much to appreciate about the other songs in the book too... Although you might leave the theatre with that darned little ditty "Our state fair is a great state fair" in your head...

For a musical big on melodrama it's shrunk well into a small space, with an even smaller budget. Although if the show sells out (which it might start doing given its great reviews) it might be a tad frightening sitting in the front row with all those kicks in the dance numbers.

The only thing I would advise is that you should bring your own booze as are having licensing issues at the moment... Hand wash gel is a good idea too... The bathroom was pretty grim and there is no running water... That's something to think about as you hold the handrail climbing the stairs to the theatre... It runs until the end of August. Don't miss it... But skip the beer nuts at the bar...

Listen!

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