Review: Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever

Theatre Severn

Tuesday 4th October- Saturday 8th October 2022

(2.30 Matinees Wednesday Thursday and Saturday)

The year was Nineteen Seventy-Eight; the new generation had the moribund policies of Callaghan’s Labour Government burning down to embers and Thatcher adding the Tory’s water onto the dying fire. Punk was maybe in the corner having been put to sit by the New Romantics and there was anger on the streets.

This wasn’t the time for a prissy vacuous musical film and any that came weren’t welcomed. So it was going to take something a little different, a little tougher, a harder hitting narrative and a relevant story. And then it came! “Saturday Night Fever.” This was a film dealing with issues being encountered by Seventies kids of New Jersey. Teenage pregnancy, Gang warfare, Child and Domestic abuse even the desertion of God from true values was discussed in this potpourri of angst. This was a narrative with grit, this was a narrative of social comment and yet it was all beautifully woven with a superb score of hit songs and the amazing dancing talents of the cast, running through it like plaid. So, after taking the world by storm and doing for Travolta what The Beatles did for McCartney, how does this film transpose onto stage?

In two words spookily brilliantly. Making dance the only thing that these kids could do to escape their horrible real lives, brought a live show that was bound to be filled with dance and song and it is. The three Bee Gee’s Brothers sounded so much like them it was hard to believe there wasn’t the best of the Bee Gee’s playing in the background. To say these boys made the cut is so, so, underselling what utter genius, one would be hard pressed to find better. The greatest tribute that anyone could play to ever popular Brothers Gibb. In fact, it is fair to say the show is a musical triumph. The arrangements and the live band were something else. Just superb. A show that can do all this has to win. The band were excellent. One is aware that they were small in number, which heightens one’s incredulity a little further still. The were all musically gifted with the ability to play more than one instrument. So, the music although live, was still exquisite. So well played.

The design of the show was incredible. One is a big fan of sets which are utterly complicated and yet look devastatingly simple. The designers achieved that with aplomb and the grungy Bernstein-esque New Jersey backwater develops. By using a series of square arches getting smaller by dimension as thy go draw the eye upstage one is fooled into seeing a depth that isn’t there and that sort of attention to detail doesn’t happen overnight.

It is at this stage that a reviewer explores the cast and looks for holes and weaknesses. There are none. This cast have the ability and talent that one would happily pay hundreds to watch on the West End or Broadway but there is no need for they are here all week. Too many to single out, but the player who sang, danced and acted the part of Tony Manero was just stunning. With such a huge responsibility on his shoulders to steer the show through to its conclusion, he didn’t put a single foot wrong. Not one error. This was professionalism at it’s very best.

This is a great family show. It is here all week and it is worth getting tickets if you can. You will see just as I did that this is a great show, well directed, expertly choreographed, well sung, acted and just so stunningly danced. It may take this reviewer a while to see dancing just as good again.

This is a Five Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

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