Birmingham Hippodrome

The songs, rich, melodic, evergreens, come tripping out and dance upon the ear. Not so the show itself. Sadly it spends much of it’s time simply tripping about and what dancing there is could be overlooked - in more ways than one. It is all such a great pity. There is so much missing, so much that could easily be done to inject vitality and, above all, movement into this revival of a 30’s classic.

As a film it launched the famous Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney partnership. Rodgers and Hart packed it with songs that even to this day are show stoppers - which is a bit of a problem when you have a show that has trouble starting. Babes In Arms is a vintage backstage musical which should be a celebration of the youth. As it stands it is a celebration of the talents of Su Pollard - and thank goodness she is around to keep things going. She’s marvellous. Tudor Davies, no mean name in the business, is responsible for the choreography and this is a puzzle. There is so little.

Designer Terry Parsons is imprisoned in his own backstage and director Roger Redfarn is imprisoned in a first act that almost stands still. But joy upon joy there are the songs - and Su Pollard to belt out The Lady Is A Tramp and bring down the final curtain with arousing Johnny One Note. Thank you Su.

Fred Norris

Birmingham Evening Mail
April 1985