She Loves Me
Hayes Theatre, Kings Cross

Disclaimer: I’m a big fan of the Hayes Theatre. Every time I see a show in the 104-seat theatre with a small stage and live band behind them, I’ve never failed to be impressed. The theatre has been able to put on big shows – Rent, High Society, and even Xanadu on roller skates.

Last week, She Loves Me was no exception. From the introduction, where a talented trio played the overture with their violin, bass and saxophone, they managed to introduce the show with a strong link to its Jewish Viennese setting.

The musical was the story of the 1940 film, The Little Shop on the Corner, with James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan. This later became the basis for the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan rom-com You’ve Got Mail – where they ran neighbouring bookshops.

In between the movies, the very talented Jerry Bock wrote the music and Sheldon Harnick brought it to life with his lyrics. The musical was more closely aligned to the original play.

In this show, the action is set in 1930s Eastern Europe, in a parfumerie (tip: don’t sit too close to the front if you have an overactive olfactory system). Caitlin Berry, who starred in last year’s Melba and Ilona Ritter, were brilliant as the leads. Their voices perfectly suited to the mid-century musical’s operatic notes – made me expect them to burst into “I could have danced all night” from My Fair Lady. It had that tone and presence.For the male leads, Rowan Witt as the leading man, Tony Llewellyn-Jones as the shop owner, and Kurt Phelan as the gigolo were all spot on. The standout for me was Jay James-Moody who played the downtrodden shop assistant and then the restaurant owner who was keen to have a romantic vibe in his establishment. It was also great to see Joel Granger again – he’d been a delight in last month’s Cry Baby (also at the Hayes).

My favourite scene was the juxtaposed crazy erotic restaurant scene which immediately followed an apparent suicide. It was a perfect segue to lift from a depressing moment to an over-the-top musical theatre interlude.

The music was old-fashioned, the story an old one, but for a night of entertaining charm it was a captivating sojourn into a slower, simpler time.



Venue: Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point

Season: Until 22 September 2018

Times: Mon 6.30pm | Tues – Sat 7.30pm | Wed & Sat 2.00pm

Price: Tickets $60.00-$75.00

Bookings: | (02) 8065 7337