The Pajama Game – reviews of 'delightful' musical comedy

May 15, 2014

Passion and politics collide in 'zingingly entertaining' musical revival that has critics humming

Tristram Kenton

What you need to know 
Musical comedy The Pajama Game has opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre, West End. The 1954 Broadway show features music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell.

In The Pajama Game a miserly pyjama factory boss hires a new superintendent, Sid, to keep his workers in line after calls for a pay rise. But plans go awry when the Sid falls for the feisty shopfloor militant, Babe.

Richard Eyre's production was first staged at Chichester in 2013. This West End season runs until 13 September.  

What the critics like
Richard Eyre's joyful production feels like "one of the most zingingly entertaining tune-and-toe shows you have ever seen", says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. This effervescent version marvellously captures the show's constantly bubbling wit with dazzlingly inventive choreography.

It's refreshing to find a musical in which "passion collides with politics", says Michael Billington in The Guardian. But what really counts here is the brilliance of the choreography in matching the mood of the songs.

It's Broadway fluff, but "Eyre's colourful production ensures that it's delightful fluff", says Dominic Maxwell in The Times. There are a string of warming, amusing, tuneful set-pieces as well as bustling big numbers, and the lyrics are witty throughout.

What they don't like
At times the dialogue can sound like it's "strung around a sequence of terrific songs", says Edward Seckerson on the Arts Desk. Go for the songs - and hopefully they'll sort the balance issues, which sometimes have the voices fighting a losing battle with the orchestra.

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