Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews


Saturday Night Fever

Bill Kenwright , Wales Millennium Centre , November-27-18
Saturday Night Fever by Bill Kenwright It may now be over forty years since John Travolta burst on to the world cinema screens and got pulses racing with his dynamic dancing. Now it’s the excitement of the wonderful ensemble dancing that gives this production its zing and gets our pulses beating and our feet tapping out the Bee Gees definitive disco music. We are all ‘Staying Alive’ right from the off.

Here Richard Winsor’s Tony may not take our breath away but he grows in stature and charisma as the show progresses. He’s a very convincing actor and we are captivated by his story. The ordinary working-class boy in a dull job who only comes to life when he’s the king on the disco floor. Winsor is ballet trained and this shows very strongly, late in the show, in a ballet style sequence in which he is very moving.

But he hasn’t got the dance floor all to himself. His, sometime girlfriend and first partner Annette played very poignantly by Anna Campkin, may be a quiet girl but she too comes alive on the dance floor. They give us some very lively dancing duets. There’s going to be a Disco competition with a big money prize. Everyone’s money is on Tony to win. But he’s got his eye on another more glamorous partner also a superb dancer, Stephanie Mangano.

Alone on the stage Annette sings of her disappointment, we’d love to hear her but the show is almost ruined by every song in the show being sung by the ‘Bee Gees’ high upon a platform at the back of the stage. This iconic band of brothers may have written all the music for the show but we could do without them up here taking over all the solos. Edward Handoll, Alastair Hill and Matt Faull do a very good job bringing us the Bee Gees sound but they shouldn’t be there at all.

The outstanding vitality and joy bought to us by the ensemble dancing is backed by Gary McCann’s excellent set design and the brilliant lighting of Nick Richings. For the disco competition a giant sized mirror stands centre stage. We get twice as much for our money; we see the dynamic ensemble first in front of our eyes and then we see their reflections behind them – works well.

Tony and Stephanie are on top form; again Kate Parr’s dancing and acting brings this sequence vividly to life. Get down there to see who wins!

The leading players all do a great job meeting the challenges of their roles full on.

But it’s that ensemble that raises the roof and they have the packed house up on it feet, swaying to the music as the curtain falls.

Continues ‘til 1 Dec.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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