★★★☆☆ | Saturday Night Fever – National Tour
Stuck in a dead end job and in a deadbeat family, Tony Manero escapes the dull routine of his life by gathering the adoration of the crown as he struts his stuff on the dance floors of Brooklyn’s discos. But whilst practising with new dance partner, Stephanie Mana, his eyes are opened up to a world beyond the Brooklyn Bridge, and Tony slowly realises that his life has to change.
Richard Winsor (Casualty) is affable enough as Tony Manero and is well matched by Kate Parr as Stephanie, whilst the ensemble cast fills the stage and brims with energy and enthusiasm during the dance numbers.
Overall, the production has its faults. The set intrudes on stage leaving little room for the cast; the second act is narrative heavy with a storyline which all gets rather gloomy, the rapid flicking between brief scenes made the proceedings feel disjointed and the faux Brooklyn accents made the script difficult to decipher at times.
But as you would expect, where this show comes alive is in the disco scenes, and these sections of the show are vibrant, colourful and full of life; and as they explode onto the stage they are a pure joy to watch. Featuring a soundtrack which defined a generation, the live band and singers were one of the show’s strongest features, as they brilliantly captured the look, sound, feel and falsetto harmonies of the Bee Gee’s, and belted out a string of songs which are deeply embedded in popular culture, including ‘Stayin’ Alive’, ‘Jive Talkin’’, ‘If I Can’t Have You’ and ‘How Deep Is Your Love’.
Overall, Saturday Night Fever is a bit of a mixed bag, albeit one which is lifted by its strong and infectious musical numbers, the enthusiasm of the cast and a heavy dose of nostalgia.