The Riverlea Theatre present is packed stuffed with well-known tunes, fabulous outfits and disco dancing. Photograph / Kerry Blakeney-Williams
Riverlea Theatre is pulling out all of the stops with their annual Christmas Present, a musical adaptation of the 1977 movie Saturday Night time Fever. Packed stuffed with well-known tunes, fabulous outfits and disco dancing, it’s one to get into your diary for the festive season.
There’s an enormous quantity of motion within the present, with a number of scenes and a mixture of large-scale dance numbers and smaller, extra intimate scenes that progress the character.
That includes the music of the Bee Gees in addition to some well-known numbers by The Trammps and Kool & the Gang, it’s a complete toe-tapper which additionally offers with common themes of belonging, ambition, relationships and battle. We see this primarily by the characters of Tony and Stephanie, however the subplots reinforce this. They characterize anybody who has sought launch in music and dance, or set their sights past their current circumstances.
As Tony Manero, Jonty Climo wields a swagger, head toss and straightforward patter reflecting his character’s youth and confidence. His voice is nice, masking a number of songs, kinds and moods, and when he hits falsetto, the viewers exhibits its appreciation.
Deanna Younger is a assured Stephanie and a stupendous dancer. Her robust voice is showcased properly in her solos, and her character’s power brings a change within the misogynistic ‘70s attitudes the boys exemplify.
Brooke Ottaway brings pathos to the function of Annette, and her sorrowful interpretation of If I Can’t Have You was skilfully performed. Paris Eyeington had enormous power and focus in his function as Tony’s buddy Joey, supported by Daniel Thomas as Double J, whereas Hamilton Kay as Bobby introduced new sorrow in his solo, Tragedy.
The Membership Singers (Carina Waines, Sophie-Might Brown and Charlotte O’Reagan) have been all glorious, and their Greek chorus-style vignettes bridged the motion between scenes and have been at all times a musical spotlight.
Audiences will know lots of the songs, but it surely was good to expertise the completely different interpretations and listen to them contextualised throughout the general narrative. The band, led by Jonathan Hawthorn, are terrific.
Choreographer Emelia Jennings has had an unlimited job bringing the period to life and taking her solid again to the heyday of the disco period. The solid are actually polished on stage of their giant mass dance scenes, and there’s a whole lot of motion all over the place you look. There’s additionally fabulous costumes by Helena Jennings and her crew, that are enormous enjoyable and replicate an excellent mixture of kinds from the period (and, in fact, loads of satin and sequins).
Among the only scenes for me have been when the set was easy and symbolic; a subway seat and a display exhibiting the passing of time on the subway, or a park bench underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. The Riverlea set crew had an enormous job on this present constructing a bridge, a paint store and a Manhattan stoop. Membership 2001 was the standout attraction, with its flashy bar and a large wall of colored disco lights. Stuffed with full of life motion, it seemed and felt like a vibrant and enjoyable hangout.
Opening evening is at all times the main focus for any manufacturing, with rehearsals timed to construct in depth and the performers prepared for the thrill of their first viewers – so it’s not superb when that is disrupted, as was the case right here resulting from Covid. A couple of timing and noise points with the formidable bigger items of the set approaching will quickly be ironed out.
Kudos to the solid and manufacturing crew, who did a sterling job delivering a high-energy efficiency.
The main points:
What: Saturday Night time Fever, The Musical. Directed by Mike Williams
The place: Riverlea Theatre, Hamilton
When: November 30 to December 10
● Appropriate for mature audiences, not really useful for kids underneath the age of 16.