It’s time once again for the Crucible’s Christmas musical and this year’s choice is an interesting, perhaps even an unusual one. The musical She Loves Me comes to us via a rich history of adaptations. Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklós László first graced the stage in 1937, before being adapted for the big screen in The Shop Around the Corner, premiering in 1940, which went on to be brought back to the stage in the form of the musical She Loves Me in 1963. Many will also recognise the plot – sparring colleagues who turn out to be each others’ romantic pen pals – as reappearing in the 1998 hit You’ve Got Mail.
What makes She Loves Me perhaps an unusual choice for the Christmas musical is that it isn’t what you’d call one of the Christmas classics, complete with sing-along songs that all of the audience will know. However, don’t let that put you off – this production is packed with style, charm and cheer, even if it is laced with a touch more edge and realism than some of the Hollywood Golden Age musicals we’re used to.
The musical is set in Maraczek’s, a perfumerie headed up by the charming and sarcastic Georg Nowack (David Thaxton). When Amalia Balash (Alex Young) steps through the door looking for a job, it’s annoyance at first sight for Georg and Amalia. However, unbeknownst to both of them, they have been corresponding with each other via a series of love letters, having been matched through the local newspaper’s lonely hearts service.
Avid Crucible-goers will recognise Alex Young from her previous leading roles in Crucible productions – from the classic Guys and Dolls through to the Sheffield favourite Standing at the Sky’s Edge. Her performance here is no less impressive – her comic timing and snappy delivery really bouncing off David Thaxton’s confident and sarcastic Georg.