White Christmas @ Dominion Theatre, London

White Christmas is an all-singing, all-dancing Christmas explosion. This West End stage version of Irving Berlin’s classic, originally a 1954 film starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, fully encapsulates the 1950s jazzy, happy spirit.

White Christmas tells the tale of an army captain and a private who, unbeknownst to the captain, catch a train to Vermont instead of Florida for their Christmas. Phil Davies (Tom Chambers) and Bob Wallace (Aled Jones) have been a comedic, singing, dancing duo since their time in the army, and when they meet the Haynes sisters, Judy (Louise Bowden) and Betty (Rachel Stanley), they meet their female matches. The girls are also of a dynamic duo, and the flirtatious Phil and Judy have no problems ‘joining forces’, whereas for the more cynical Bob and Betty, the path to true love is not one which runs smoothly. Phil and Judy concoct a plan for the men to follow the girls to Vermont, where Phil and Bob discover their ex-general from the army running a hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel is failing to bring in the money required to pay the bills, so the four musicians plan a Christmas surprise to help Major General Tom Waverly and to bring Christmas cheer to all involved.

The pair made an excellent combination

At first sight of the Dominion Theatre spectators are filled with festive cheer as the outside is illuminated by red light and surrounded by White Christmas festive posters. After entering, the audience can appreciate the tinsel and wreaths which wind up and down the staircase banisters, and two tastefully decorated trees, situated either side of the champagne bar.

Tom Chambers and Aled Jones, the leading actors, both first came to the public’s notice at Christmas time. Tom won Strictly Come Dancing in 2008 with Camilla Dallerup, which drew attention to his natural dancing abilities, prompting his involvement first in Top Hat and now,of course, this. Aled Jones, himself a Strictly Come Dancing contestant in 2004, first became famous for his angelic rendition of ‘Walking in the Air’. The pair made an excellent combination, providing a festive outburst in matching green suits, performing the energetic choreography which listeners of Classic FM will know Aled Jones to have mentioned on a Sunday morning.

A valiant effort to continue the American accents throughout the show can be seen however the occasional Welsh twang is audible from Mr Jones

Songs such as ‘Blue Skies’, a 1926 number, ‘Sisters’ and ‘Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me’ (both from the original film) are interwoven with Christmas songs, providing an atmosphere of the 1950s era as well as of the Christmas season. With the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, and the centenary of the start of WWI, 2014 was a poignant year for war-related Christmas celebrations. White Christmas opens with the 151st Division American army Christmas show in 1944, at the hands of Bob Wallace and Phil Davies. A valiant effort to continue the American accents throughout the show can be seen however the occasional Welsh twang is audible from Mr Jones. This merely contributes to the comedic value, however, as the show is filled with one-liners and general feel-good jokes which have the audience ho-ho-hoing.

Usually, towards the end of Act 1 of a show, I find myself impatient for my interval glass of champagne, but with White Christmas even the enticements of Laurent-Perrier was not enough for me to will the halfway pause. From start to finish, White Christmas was an exhibition of Christmas cheer and the energy had me wishing it would never end.

Isla McLachlan

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