ADRIAN SLADE WRITES: Never, not even at its original launch in 1954, has a production of my brother Julian Slade’s  Salad Days’  been welcomed with seven  4 **** reviews within 24 hours! That was the reward for Bryan Hodgson’s wonderfully inventive new production at the Union Theatre Southwark, which then transferred to the Theatre Royal in Bath where it received further good reviews and packed audiences. Most of the reviews were on the internet but the Mail on Sunday and  the Bath local papers were almost as  enthusiastic. Meanwhile here is just one short quote from each of the early website reviews that have appeared in August. Some of the review can be still be seen in full by clicking on its website addresst.

Director Bryan Hodgson extracts every inch of comedy from the script……… It’s magnificently over done, with Lowri Hamer steadying the ship as the enchanting Jane and keeping up the sunshiny pace throughout. Laurie Denman is charming as Timothy,……★★★★-salad-days-union-theatre/

This is a young person’s world, and the pleasing roster of newcomers and recent arrivals to the profession are clearly having a ball with this opulent festivity of a show.  The romantic leads, perky Lowri Hamer and gawky Laurie Denman are appealing; and around them are clustered a generous half dozen or so chums, relatives, lovers played with zest by the deliciously pertinent Francesca Pim, sprightly Ashlee Young, feisty Emma Lloyd, wistful James Gulliford, patrician Lewis McBean, and in the role of ‘the fifth Marx Brother’, Jacob Seickell’s ingenious solution to the mute role of Troppo.

it is so utterly bonkers that it makes the Rocky Horror Show look sedately plausible. And yet it is so quaintly, cutely English – echoing Gilbert and Sullivan, Morris dancing, and the world of Brideshead Revisited – that one can utterly accept its eccentricities…..It may be one of British musical theatre’s weirdest, most eccentric shows, but ‘Salad Days’ is also one of its sunniest. And the Union Theatre’s production captures that brightness to thrilling effect.

Upon graduating from university, friends Timothy (Laurie Denman) and Jane (Lowri Hamer) meet up and decide to rebel against the plans their respective mothers have put in place for them……..The attraction between the leads is obvious from the start, both from the book and two vibrant performances from Denman and Hamer. But it is when the miniature piano they are guarding is revealed as being a magical instrument that compels everyone around it to dance that their relationship, and the show, takes › London    (See ‘SALAD DAYS’ at base of page)

As fizzy as a sherbet dip, as baffling as the rules of cricket, as delightful as the finest afternoon tea, Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds’ Salad Days is quite possibly the best classic British musical you haven’t heard of. Now it is the turn of the Union Theatre to revive the musical and hopefully win over some new converts. And it well could do so, given how successful Bryan Hodgson’s production is here. Much of its beauty comes from the thoroughness of his vision, the detail and thought that has gone into its every aspect.

If I could see one play every evening for the next 12 months, it would be this one…… The songs are wonderful, simple and touching, with a lightness that is so, so hard to write. One hears a touch of Ivor Novello and of Noel Cward, but each number is somehow uniquely Salad Days, and like the best of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s work, the two hours of music is all killer, no filler.

A large company of 16, brightly costumed by Mike Lees against Catherine Morgan’s bunting of striped yellow flags, keeps up an unflagging pace as it executes Joanne McShane’s witty period choreography. It’s a show that famously inspired a seven-year-old Cameron Mackintosh to fall in love with the theatre, and this production made me realise why that might be.