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Haymarket - Pump Boys and Dinettes

8th to 30th September 2002.

The Broadway & West End smash-hit American Musical.

From the Newbury Weekly News:

Running on a tank full of talent

'PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES', at the Haymarket, Basingstoke, from September 8 to 30

With the current fuel dispute in the news it seems appropriate that the opening production in the Haymarket's new season is the Broadway musical Pump Boys and Dinettes.

Elroy Ashmore's impressive set, brightly lit with lots of neon by Simon Hutchings, transports the audience to Highway 57 in North Carolina. On one side of the road is a gas station run by four happy-go-lucky all-American guys who provide service with a smile, on the other is a diner owned by the Cupp sisters where fun is on the menu. The lives and loves of these 'Pump Boys' and 'Dinettes' form the basis for a high octane evening of country music, rock 'n' roll... and a raffle. You have been warned!

This is a show which depends heavily on the charisma and versatility of the cast and director Alasdair Ramsey has assembled a talented sextet of actor-musicians who clearly have a feel for the style.

Doubling as musical director, the experienced Julian Littman's Jim establishes a good rapport with the audience and each of the other characters have moments in the spotlight.

Sarah Harvey as Prudie shows her comedic qualities in 'The Best Man I Never Had' as well as some lively fiddle playing. Jane Milligan's Rhetta warns Jim to "Be Good or Be Gone" in a raunchy solo. Sean Johnson contributes some fine steel guitar while Mark Crossland as Jackson combines outstanding musicianship with an infectious personality and has one of the most attractive ballads, 'Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine'. The cast is completed by Ian Conningham and Matt Devereaux, both of whom display powerful vocals and quirky movement skills befitting their characters.

The megamix (a la Joseph) at the end is an opportunity to relive the musical highlights of the evening. Assuming you have enough petrol, I recommend a drive down the A339 to the Haymarket where the juice is guaranteed not to run out until the end of the month.