If you are familiar with the film Saturday Night Fever, this new production will not let you down. The story follows Tony Manero (Jack Wilcox) an Italian-American who turns the boredom of his day job working in a hardware store to one of escapism as he struts his dance moves on the dancefloor with partner Stephanie Mangano (Rebekah Bryant).
Saturday Night Fever
The dancing shoes of John Travolta are hard to fill though Wilcox does so admirably with a swagger, confidence and many a hip trusting move that had many of the audience sending out noisy whistles in admiration. The chemistry between Wilcox and Bryant seemed genuine, especially in the dance sequences towards the latter part of the show.
Whilst the feel-good nature of Saturday Night Fever is paramount, there were also dark themes running through the storyline such as drug abuse, gang warfare, rape, racism and suicide. If I remember correctly, these were addressed in greater detail in the original film production, though some of the sexist comments and offhand remarks might have sat more easily in the film version 45 years ago than they do in 2022.
Three Bee-Gees lookalikes with dodgy wigs, gold suits but fantastic voices stood on a podium at the back of the stage whilst a live band blasted out the disco hits such as Stayin’ Alive, You Should Be Dancing, More Than a Woman and Tragedy, the last of which confusingly was not featured in the film version. Although mostly associated with the Bee Gees, I couldn’t help of thinking of the dance routine that Steps gave the song when they covered the hit!
Dancing the night away in Bradford
The dancing from the young and energetic cast was reflected by a mirror set at an angle so the audience could see all the dance moves on the LED dancefloor.
Harry Goodson-Bevan as Bobby C deserves a special mention as he brought a youthful charm and charisma to his role. Also Faizal Jaye as DJ Monty, who whilst not always centre stage, was always there in the background with his soulful vocals with brilliant dance moves to match.
The storyline never really got lost despite the red-hot choreography from Bill Deamer and memorable songs from the Bee Gees.
As he donned his white suit, Wilcox and the stellar cast wrapped up the musical with a medley of all the big songs from the evening, the audience were up on their feet – it had been very hard to sit still listening to You Should Be Dancin’. A high-octane and energetic show from a young and very talented cast – hopefully you will catch the fever too.
Saturday Night Fever is on at the Alhambra, Bradford Saturday 12 November. After that it moves on to Torquay and then up to Birmingham for the final shows.