Venue: Aldwych Theatre, London
By: Irving Berlin
Directed by: Matthew White
Choreographed by: Bill Deamer
Cast Includes: Tom Chambers, Summer Strallen, Martin Ball, Vivien Parry, Ricardo Afonso and Stephen Boswell.
This light, camp evening is based on a 1930's RKO motion picture starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, perhaps the most iconic dancing duo of their time, and the show includes some of their more famous numbers, such as Cheek to Cheek and Let’s Face the Music and Dance.
Matthew White (Director) and Bill Deamer (Choreographer) transport us back to the era with some magical moments. It's a delightful evening at the theatre. The company greet us with a feisty, up-tempo number, Putting On The Ritz, looking great on Hildegard Bechtler’s fabulous design; with all the glitz and glamour of the 1930s, this vast and detailed set adapts brilliantly. The witty script is occasionally too pointed and played for laughs, but Martin Ball as Horace Hardwick does a great job of wooing the audience with his witty delivery. Most of the big dance numbers seem to spring organically out of the action but in the solos the performers seem to lose a little focus. It's not always clear when they are dancing for us or for themselves.
Chambers as Jerry Travers, and Summer Strallen as Dale Tremont (our
Fred and Ginger) have real chemistry together though, especially in
Cheek to Cheek when they seemed so wrapped up in each other it was
rather moving. Chambers’ voice suits the shows era, and Strallen is as
elegant as you’d wish, proving fine leads. Ricardo Afonso as Alberto
Beddini provides some lovely comedic moments, climaxing in a wonderfully
funny rendition of Latins Know How, and Vivien Parry is bold and brash
as Madge Hardwick, relishing her time on stage.
By the end there is a real sparkle to this charming production.
VERDICT: **** (Four Stars) Journey back to the 1930's at The Aldwych Theatre for a glamorous night out.
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