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Ian Waller enjoys the highlight so far of the theatrical year

Wow, just a wonderful, joy-filled, foot-tapping, hand-clapping production! 42nd Street at the Bristol Hippodrome is simply faultless – brimming with pitch perfect performances, fantastic songs, great costumes and plot that brings beaming rays of sunshine into this grand old theatre.

Yes, I loved it, and judging by the whoops, cheers and rapturous applause from the sell-out crowd around, so did everyone else too!

Nicole-Lily Baisden as Peggy Sawyer and Sam Lips as Billy Lawlor (Photo: Johan Persson)

42nd Street is old-school song and dance at its very best, complete with huge routines, tap dancing par excellence and the type of corny old ‘small girl does good’ storyline that warms you heart. As for that plot, well a new show is in town, Pretty Lady, and while new girl Peggy Sawyer – played with such happiness, energy and incredible skill by Nicole-Lily Baisden – misses the audition, she still manages to sneak a place in the chorus line.

(Photo Johan Persson)

Meanwhile, fading superstar Dorothy Brock (Samantha Womack) is parachuted into the show to secure the financial backing of her beau Abner Dillon (Anthony Ofoegbu), despite the initial misgivings of producer Julian Marsh (Michael Praed).

So starts a magical journey of romance, heartbreak, redemption and good old teamwork to one of the best scores around.

Throughout the performances are just magnificent. Samantha Womack is every inch the beautiful prima donna with a stunning voice (her rendition of I’ve Only Got Eyes For You is incredible) and two left feet – her comedy dancing is a joy to watch – while Michael Praed couldn’t be cooler, smoother and tougher as the taskmaster behind the show.

(Photo: Johan Persson)

Special mention has to go to Faye Tozer – yes, her from Steps! – as super-sassy Maggie Jones. Just full of energy, she absolutely lights up the stage with her every entrance, displaying a great voice, fantastic moves and a talent for comedy. Just amazing.

There’s even quiz-show king Les Dennis on hand to bring in some old school comedy and laughter.

But while the stars shine, 42nd Street is an ensemble performance and right across the boards, the talent tingles. Add in song sheet that will have you singing along, including Keep Young and Beautiful, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, We’re In The Money, Lullaby of Broadway and, of course, 42nd Street, and this is a must-see production. What a joy!

42nd Street runs at the Bristol Hippodrome from Monday 31st July – Saturday 5th August 2023. To by tickets go to