REVIEW: A Sentimental Journey – The Story Of Doris Day

PUBLISHED: 14:59 29 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:46 05 October 2010

A Sentimental Journey – The Story Of Doris Day, Wilton s, Whitechapel It may be, to quote Basil Fawlty s vernacular, stating the bleeding obvious , but a life story of Doris Day is going to appeal to fans of the Hollywood heroine. For those who delight

A Sentimental Journey - The Story Of Doris Day, Wilton's, Whitechapel

It may be, to quote Basil Fawlty's vernacular, stating 'the bleeding obvious', but a life story of Doris Day is going to appeal to fans of the Hollywood heroine.

For those who delight in the songs from her hit shows, A Sentimental Journey - The Story Of Doris Day, is a joy to behold.

For those who find her too sickly sweet for words - well there was never any chance of them wanting to see the show anyway.

The production, currently showing at Wilton's in Whitechapel, is an all encompassing tale which really is a life-story rather than a show-by-show run through her career in musicals.

The action is presented by just five people supported by a four-piece band.

Ian McLarnon gives a remarkable showing as Terry Melcher, Doris's son.

He narrates the tale while playing the role of the man his mother described as 'her greatest friend'.

His performance of the Jackson Browne penned song These Days provided the night's most magical moment and a sideward glance to Melcher's own career working with The Byrds and The Beach Boys.

The title role is taken by Sally Hughes, artistic director for The Mill At Sonning Theatre, where the show had its initial run.

She has the unenviable task of getting across to the audience all the moods and torments of Day from the age of four (in 1926) to the present, living in Carmel California aged 88.

Sometimes you wonder whether the show might have been better with a trio of actors taking the role, but given the constraints Hughes does an admirable job in a showcase for her stunning voice.

The supporting cast of two men and one woman play Day's parents and four husbands (with a spot-on Frank Sinatra thrown in for good measure).

The truth of the show though is that Day's life away from the glare of the cameras is enough to build a production around, aside from all the songs.

She was in a car crash at 13 which ended her dancing career.

Her life was then defined by our marriages.

The first was to an alcoholic who tried to force her to have an abortion and then attempted to kill her when she refused.

The second lasted just eight months.

The third saw her rise to fame but then left her saddled with millions of dollars of debt and a commitment to a TV series she never knew about.

And the fourth ran its course after four years as she devoted more and more of her time to animal welfare with her husband declaring that she loved every animal more than him.

Then there's the terror of Charles Manson.

Not to mention the fact that she holds the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour bestowed on any US citizen, and has a Grammy for live time achievement.

That's enough to fill a production without any songs.

Tim Cole

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