Save the last dance for me – by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
Director: Bill Kenwright
Theatre Royal Bath until Saturday 16th November
*** 3 stars
Save the last dance for me is a classic juke box musical, packed with the hits of Pomus and Shuman such as Teenager in Love, Please Mr. Postman; the hugely talented company power through the material on offer with great style; many of them also playing instruments to create an onstage band.
The announcement at the beginning of the show remind us that they are playing and singing live, unfortunately the over production of the sound causes many moments to be drowned out with few of the backing harmonies audible, the acapella numbers become the most effective reflecting the true ability of this young company.
The storyline is thin and the script laboured, sisters Marie (Elizabeth Carter) and Jennifer (Verity Jones) holiday in Lowestoft in 1963 near a US Army base. They meet Milton (Lee Honey- Jones) and Curtis (Kieran Mcginn) and a summer romance ensues.
There is an attempt to cover the social issues of the day regarding mixed race couples but this is not a show about plot or an examination of the very real racism that was prevalent at that time. Likewise the stereotypical characterisation of the women – either chaste or desperate alongside the men who cannot understand why one of them might actually want a relationship rather than a one night stand is also a little disappointing.
It is a great company effort with Mcginn and Jay Perry (Rufus) providing some of the best vocals. This is high energy and visually effective with choreography from Bill Deamer bringing the era alive. The audience are invited to sing along which they do occasionally whilst the final extended medley of songs ensured many were clapping along too.