A thoroughly enjoyable performance from Strictly’s Joanne

Joanne Clifton as Millie
Joanne Clifton as Millie

Hannah Richardson reviews Thoroughly Modern Millie

Well, we all knew Joanne Clifton could dance, but who’d have guessed that she can also act and sing?

Joanne Clifton as Millie

Joanne Clifton as Millie

And what a great all-round performance she gives in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

The show is at Milton Keynes Theatre until tonight, Saturday, but there’s another chance to catch it when it returns to the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from March 27 to April 1.

I can’t say I was expecting a great deal from the stage version of Thoroughly Modern Millie, having found the film starring Julie Andrews entirely unmemorable.

Well, it may not be high art, but it was a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable evening, with a very talented cast, and just the thing to chase away the January blues.

The story follows the fortunes of Millie Dillmount, a Kansas girl determined to make it big in New York by marrying her boss.

Joanne Clifton, who stars as Millie, is known to many of us as the gorgeous professional dancer who spectacularly partnered and choreographed BBC sports presenter Ore Oduba to win the 2016 Strictly Come Dancing glitterball trophy.

She’s also a former World Ballroom Showdance Champion.

But she’s so much more than just a dancer on stage – although her dancing is, as you would expect, an absolute joy.

She’s a great all-round performer, playing a thoroughly loveable Millie and belting out the numbers with the best of them.

Other delightful performances came from the youthful Sam Barrett, who brings an adorable lightness of touch to the role of Jimmy Smith, and Graham MacDuff, who plays Millie’s uptight boss Trevor Graydon with superb comic timing.

Katherine Glover brings charm to the potentially limp role of Miss Dorothy.

And Jenny Fitzpatrick as Muzzy Van Hossmere brought the house down with her rendition of Only in New York.

EastEnders and Coronation Street star Michelle Collins plays Chinese laundry owner and white slave trader Mrs Meers with gusto as a pantomime baddie – so much so that I fully expected her to be booed when she took her bow at the end of the show. Unfortunately, she had also adopted such an impenetrable fake-Chinese accent that it was almost impossible to make out what she was saying a lot of the time.

See www.atgtickets.com/Miiltonkeynes

www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre