Since the classic Hollywood hit 'Saturday Night Fever' has been revived back into the ultimate feel-good show once again, I thought it was nothing but my duty to scope out the performance at my local theatre.
The 70s spectacular captures the journey of Tony Manero, a 19 year old boy with a passion for dance. While trying to follow his dreams, he ends up getting caught in a love triangle, between his ex girlfriend Annette, who is still madly in love with him, and Stephanie, an office worker from Manhattan. By day, his lives the ordinary life of a Brooklyn paint store worker, living at home with his parents and little sister. But at night, it is a whole other story. Heading out with his friends to the local disco, Tony dances the night away, showing off his pure talent and building a varied reputation for himself. When a big dance competition is announced, he is faced with dilemmas regarding his professional and personal relationship with Stephanie, who reluctantly agrees to dance with him.
Having the attention span like that of a fly means that I only tend to stay focused on films in a cinema setting, and therefore haven't actually got round to watching all of 'Saturday Night Fever' in its original form. Its reincarnation however, from what I've seen, is almost identical, paying good homage, just more immersive with the production coming to life on the stage in front of your eyes, creating a sensational atmosphere to be a part of.
The exploring of Tony's antics is accompanied by the greatest hits of the Bee Gees, where the musicians that take their spot supply flawless renditions of the songs, in a way that seems like a genuine replica of the original band. It is inevitable that you will recognise quite a few of the songs, even if you weren't around at the time of their release (like myself) or don't typically listen to 70s tunes. Featuring 'Stayin' Alive', 'Night Fever', 'Disco Inferno', 'Tragedy' and many more, the show is packed with songs to lift your spirits. With disco balls lowered to provide shimmering lights around the room, there's no escaping the true atmosphere of the show.
Besides the addition of 'the Bee Gees', the phenomenal finale routine (and the general greatness of the performance throughout), there were a couple of other standout moments for me. One of these was the beautifully executed solo song by Anna Campkin, who plays Annette. Her vocals are extraordinary, and adds a poignant tone to contrast the liveliness of the main narrative of the show. Similarly, Raphael Pace, who plays Bobby C, sings 'Tragedy' alone, amid his despair regarding his own situation. I'm sure it's different in every theatre, but we could've done with this being a little louder over the backing for us, though it was ok and it was still of good quality.
When advertised, the show heavily promoted the lead role of Tony to be played by Casualty star, Richard Winsor. Despite the fact that I was expecting to see this happen, I was far from disappointed with the alternate, Owen Broughton, taking on the character. Being at a matinee showing of such an intense, high energy show, it makes total sense to split the roles on two show days. We were not told about this before we arrived at the theatre so may have disappointed some audience members, though I just feel that alternates should be given the same amount of praise as 'stars', because they're equally (and sometimes more!) amazing at the job. Every member of the cast put on a fantastic show which was thoroughly enjoyed. Great job from those behind the scenes too, with the costumes- particularly with the appearance of that iconic white suit- props, lighting, stage management, and everyone else who never get the recognition they deserve.
With the perfect amount of cheesiness for a great evening of entertainment, this show is so worth the watch if you can catch it while it's touring: a fabulous story of devotion, dancing and disco.