Friday, 22 February 2013

Review: The Tailor-Made Man at the Arts Theatre

The Tailor-Made Man 
Arts Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 21st February 2013

"The Tailor-Made Man is the true story of William Haines, the silent screen star who was fired by Louis B Mayer of MGM Studios because he was gay and refused to marry and give up his lifelong partner Jimmy Shields. The Tailor-Made Man is a powerful story about Hollywood and its system and hypocrisy, but above all it is the story of Billy and Jimmy’s turbulent, passionate love affair that survived and lasted over 50 years."

The Tailor-Made man is a delightful show. The stylish set and costumes instantly transport you back to a magical era, allowing you to forget about your troubles of the 21st century for a few hours. Duncan Walsh Atkins and Adam Meggido's score (with lyrics by Adam Meggido) is very pleasant but during the first act fails to make much impact. However, the second half is far stronger, you are bound to leave the theatre humming into the night.

Overall the cast are good. It's hard to believe Faye Tozer was part of international pop phenomenon Steps, as she looks so at home on the West End stage. Faye performs with a great deal of elegance and class, as well as delivering comical lines well. Her voice isn't the strongest but she performs her solo numbers to a high standard and most certainly hits all the big notes - she simply owns the stage.

Dylan Turner's portrayal of William Haines is spot on. He performs with the perfect mix of charm and arrogance. He held back at particular moments which I thought was very wise and allowed far more tension to be built up and released throughout the show. A stand out performance came from Mike McShane who did not hold back one tiny bit! He demands the audience's attention and his big solo number was incredible!

It was fascinating to watch the various developments in William Haines' relationship with Jimmy Shields (played by Bradley Clarkson who also gives a strong performance). There are many ups and downs which lead to (without giving too much away) a very touching ending.

While some parts are a little slow and underwhelming, The Tailor-Made Man makes a very powerful point but in a subtle way. Also, the fact that it is a true story makes it that extra bit special. A lovely night out at the theatre!

The Tailor-Made Man runs at the Arts Theatre until 6th April 2013. Book with West End Frame to save £5 on all performances (top price seats reduced to £34.50). Click here to book.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Photo Credit: Alastair Muir 

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  1. A really great show and I wouldn't disagree with anything said here - a certain hit! Don't miss it,

  2. I saw this last weekend. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it. I did not know much about it prior to going to see it.
    The musical's setting and style was elegant in a 1930s kind of way. I love it. It feels quaint, but that is nicely contradicted by the subject of the show.
    It's a story that needs telling, and that, 80 years on, still resonate today.
    The cast is fab. I adore the ensemble musical numbers, and the three main lead are wonderful.
    I need to hear the final number performed by Billy, Marion and Jimmy again. I think it's called Life By Design or something. (I didn't purchase the programme so I don't know for sure what it's called).
    Maybe I just need to see it again. SOON.

  3. A fantastic fresh new show to the west end, I personally loved and was intrigued to hear/see the story of William Haines brought to life. Fantastic performance from leading man Dylan Turner and Bradley Clarkson brought tears of laughter, and a few tears of sadness. Bringing a superb performance with even better harmonies 'we've got time'. Fantastic script, music, choreography and especially cast, it's an all round success. 5*