From the team that brought us Dreamboats and Petticoats, Save The Last Dance For Me is a nostalgic and charming show set in the 1960s in a small town called Lowestoft that is jam packed with well-loved songs such as Viva Las Vegas, Sweets For My Sweet and Please Mr Postman. The two sisters Marie and Jennifer played by Elizabeth Carter and Lola Saunders are charmed by Antony Costa who plays the role of smooth talking American Milton who invites them to a dance where music and dancing are a definite and love blossoms. Both Saunders and Carter exhibit strong vocal ability in very different ways. Saunders, who is making her stage debut in this production, had a strong yet sassy approach whereby Carter’s sweet, musical voice charmed the audience and was a perfect fit for the era as well as the music. Both had an excellent connection on stage and created a warm believability to their relationship as sisters.
Over the years, Costa has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments on the stage, most notably after his role in Blood Brothers when he played the lead as Mickey Johnstone. Costa has also starred in Boogie Nights, Tommy, Jack and the Beanstalk and Popstar- the Musical so it is no surprise that he took to the stage with confidence, charisma and charm; performing like a natural. Costa is not the first pop star or singer to transition to theatre yet he is one of the best I have witnessed. There is no indication of his pop star, boy band roots when he takes the stage as Milton in Save The Last Dance For Me and he is given the spotlight to showcase his impressive, confident vocal ability. His talented acting ability combined with his vocals proves him to be one to watch in theatre and the way he took to the stage as if a second home to him hints at future success in his West End career.
Jason Denton is also worth notable mention due to his accomplished performance as Marie’s love interest, Curtis. He particularly showed off his vocal ability during the acapella rendition of Sweets For My Sweet and he is charming to watch on stage. I regret to mention there were some slight tuning issues with the instruments on stage and an irritating ringing noise coming from the sound system at the back of the theatre, however such slight issues did not discredit the performance and how enjoyable the show was.
Overall a very enjoyable evening out, particularly for those who lived through the period and can appreciate the music and the era for what it was. It achieved what it set out to do; a happy smiling audience up on their feet dancing and singing along at the end. Although it is not a knock out show that will blow you away, it’s certain to please audiences throughout the week in the Liverpool Empire. Get tickets while you can, the show runs until Saturday 11th June!
Reviewer: Sarah Goldsmith
Reviewed: 6th June 2016
North West End Rating: ★★★