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East End favourite shows off her West End class; Theatre Review.

Byline: John West

Hello Dolly rade Theatre, until June 14. unning time: 2hrs 45mins.

A PACKED house at the Belgrade welcomed back an old favourite to the stage as Hello Dolly hit town.

With Anita Dobson in the starring role as the meddling Dolly Levi, the show rattles along from romance to farce and back again.

The classic musical centres on the ntics of Dolly, who can't resist interfering in people's lives - especially their love lives. But as well as making matches, she's also making sure she gets her man - the half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder - as long as her late husband approves, that is.

Darren Day and Hamilton Sargent provide the laughs as clerks Cornelius and Barnaby, determined to find adventure and love in the big city of New York, and the show builds to a night at a posh restaurant and an appearance in the dock before Dolly weaves her magic.

Anita Dobson, the one-time queen of the East End, switches from a Walford accent to one from New York to have the crowd laughing along, and there are some touching moments when she talks to her dead husband about her need to get married and not spend her life alone.

And, as you would expect, there are some great song-and-dance routines for all the favourite numbers, including, of course, Hello Dolly.

It's an old-fashioned musical handled really well with a likeable, lively cast - good to have her back where she belongs. *****

CAPTION(S):

DOLLY GOOD... Anita Dobson in Hello Dolly at the Belgrade Theatre. Gone Baby Gone (15)
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Article Type:Theater review
Date:Jun 12, 2008
Words:259
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