Reviewed on Wednesday 15th June 2016
Two years since it was last seen in London at the Open Air Theatre, Hobson's Choice has opened at the Vaudeville Theatre. Jonathan Church's production, which ran in Bath earlier this year, stars Martin Shaw who gives a stellar performance as boot-shop owner Henry Hobson.
Hobson is far from impressed when his formidable daughter, Maggie, declares she is to marry boot-maker Willie Mossop (it comes as a bit of a shock for Willie too). Nevertheless, Maggie and Willie marry and shake things up by setting up a shop to rival Hobson's. Although a little slow in places, Hobson's Choice is always an enjoyable piece.
Shaw's performance is spot on - he doesn't overplay the role, and aces his big speeches. Naomi Frederick is a force of nature as Maggie who is a gift of a role. Frederick owns the stage and is utterly frightening, sharing strong chemistry with Shaw. Marking his West End debut, Bryan Dick is brilliant as Willie, growing with the character into the second half. Simon Higlett's design is highly detailed; the set eventually revolves later in the show - it's very cinematic.
A play about pride and family, Hobson's Choice is still relatable. It's a fun play with some wonderful lines. Hobson's Choice joins a long list of superb Jonathan Church productions that have successfully transferred to the West End.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
Hobson's Choice runs at the Vaudeville Theatre to 10th September 2016.
Please visit www.nimaxtheatres.com for further information and tickets.
Photo Credit: Nobby Clark