‘You Should Be Dancing…Yeah!’ Saturday Night Fever, Orchard Theatre, Dartford. 08.01.2019

A new year has dawned, which means a new year of theatre viewings in store! To kick off 2019, it was to the Orchard Theatre, Dartford for their first musical showing Saturday Night Fever.

Saturday Night Fever is based on the 1977 classic film of the same name, Tony Manero sadly doesn’t have much going for him during the weekdays. Still living at home and working as a paint store clerk in his Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood. But what Tony lives for are the weekends, when he and his friends go to the local disco and dance the night away and escape the reality. When a big dance competition is announced, he wrangles the beautiful and talented Stephanie to be his partner. As the two train for the big night, they start to fall for each other as well.

I for one have not seen the iconic film, starring John Travolta so i came in knowing very little of the story and what I was in for. For a show, its not quite sure as to what it wants to be a musical, tribute act, or dance show. The songs themselves were sung manly by the Bee Gee’s performed by 3 members of the cast (Edward Handoll, Alastair Hill, Matt Faull) impersonating the trio, that were raised on a higher platform above the stage and would appear and disappear on and off stage throughout the show before a number – this at times became a distraction and would have benefited with them either blending in with the cast or remain on the platform along with the fellow band. Being the lead vocals of the night, there were at times accompanied by a few members of the cast for one of the songs they complimented the singer Stephanie’s ‘Too Much in Heaven’ but for Annette’s (Anna Capkin) ‘If I Can’t Have You’ and Booby C’s (Raphael Pace)  ‘Tragedy’ the balance of the two did not work and you would hear more of the Bee Gee’s then the actor singing their solo and their tone would clash with the falsetto’s of the band. However, when the Bee Gee’s performed their own numbers it was when the dancefloor really lit up and you could understand why they were chosen to step into the roles as if you closed your eyes, you felt you were listening to the real trio.

The main thing I loved about this production was the dancing, especially the group numbers in the 2001 Odyssey club. It was where the stage really lit up – literally with the many disco balls scattered around the stage! Choreographer Bill Deamer really out done himself with the dancing, making sure that the classic 70s moves were not missed throughout the many numbers but also, bringing in some contempary dance in the ‘Immortality’ number to alternate between the fast passed disco.

Taking on the leading man of the show Tony Mangero was Richard Winsor, his dancing skills were outstanding and you could tell he is doing what he loves when doing so. It all came natural to him, being his strong point of the character. His partnership with Kate Parr as Stephanie Mangano was a perfect pairing as they both flowed across the dancefloor with ease. The role of Tony has to hold the show throughout and Richard takes the character in his stride at times, but needs to  have a little more confidence in his acting and singing.

Having not known what I was in for, I had nothing to judge or compare it to. By the finale the audience were dancing to the disco beat of the much loved songs and all smiling when leaving the auditorium. To me, i felt it was trying to shadow shows such as Dirty Dancing but not quite getting there. It needs to decide what kind of show it wants to be as currently it seems very confused.  But that being said, if you loved the film and love the Bee Gee’s this is the show for you!

Playing at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford until Saturday 12th January 2019, for all ticket information go here. It will then continue on its UK tour, for all venues and dates go here.

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