Hungarian playwright Miklós László’s 1937 Parfumerieis probably best known as the inspiration for the 1998 film You’ve Got Mail, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, but it has also spawned several musical theatre adaptations, including the 1963 Broadway musical She Loves Mewhich opened at the Hayes Theatre last night.

With music by Jerry Bock (who scored Fiddler on the Roof), lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and a book by Joe Masteroff, the show’s premise is simple: two employees at a Budapest Parfumerie in the 1930s fall in love anonymously, writing letters to each other through a lonely-hearts column, despite driving each other crazy in person. Making her Hayes directorial debut, Erin James finds in this rather old-fashioned musical plenty of humour and heart, supported by excellent singing and some wonderful comic turns.

She Loves Me, Hayes Theatre The cast of Hayes Theatre Co’s  She Loves Me.Photo © Noni Carroll

Against a gorgeous, period set by Isabel Hudson, lit warmly by Matt Cox, we meet the Maraczek’s Parfumerie family: from delivery boy Arpad Laszlo (Joel Granger) to clerks Georg Nowack (Rowan Witt), Ilona Ritter (Zoe Gertz), Stephen Kodaly (Kurt Phelan) and Ladislav Sipos (Jay...