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Bugle Boy, Bournemouth Pavilion
OUTSIDE Bournemouth Pavilion, American soldiers chat with British Home Guard volunteers beside Second World War Army vehicles, as 1940s-dressed spivs loiter.
Inside the theatre , a live 15-piece big band tunes up, waiting to produce the sound of Glenn Miller.
This is a pacy, authentic show, the overhead projections helping to set the scenes with black and white footage of key moments in Miller’s career.
Throughout the difficult Depression years of America’s 1920s and ’30s, Miller – an average vocalist and trombone player but a gifted musical arranger – strove to find his elusive “sound”. By chance he discovers the magic mix – using a lead clarinet, taking the trombones down an octave, and adding a fifth saxophone.
Playing on the Chesterfield radio show with a coast-to-coast audience of 20 million, the hits begin: Moonlight Serenade, Pennsylvania 6-5000 and the million-selling Chattanooga Choo Choo.
After America joins the Second World War in 1942, Miller volunteers to join the Army to put a “fresh up-tempo step into military marches” and “give the boys a hunk of home”.
Tragically – and mysteriously – Glenn Miller disappeared on a military flight from England to Paris in 1944 aged just 40.
The band and cast are outstanding, costumes and lighting atmospheric, and the music – American Patrol, the swingin’ Boogie Woogie (Bugle Boy), and the iconic In The Mood – unforgettable.
Runs until Saturday.