The Jukebox Musical arrived in Stoke last night with absolute style as the 1960’s were recreated on stage last night. The show is based around the music featured on the Save The Last Dance For Me CD brought by the company who bring us the Dreamboats and Petticoats CD series. The show opened with an overture featuring some of the most popular and recognisable songs in the show. Including A Teenager in Love which the audience were quite happily singing and clapping along to which really gave the show a very warm feeling from the get go. We were sent to Lowestoft in the rain for this holiday romance based show.
At Twenty-two I was probably one of the youngest people in the audience but that almost added to the charm of the show as it was as entertaining for me to view everyone around me reliving there youth and singing along to their hearts content which was advised before the show started. This has been one of the first shows where I’ve had this feeling throughout it gave such a positive vibe as an audience. The show itself opened with two mini scenes to introduce us as audience to the characters included in the show with a very witty writing style from the start the show was introduced in a very funny and again warm style. The set was very loud to look at throughout and unfortunately at points throughout the show I did find myself getting more engrossed in the set rather than the action on stage, as the lights and colours on the stage were so bright compared to the costumes it drew your attention a lot more. The costumes however were time appropriate and did show the characters personality well they weren’t as commanding as I’m used to for musical theatre, especially considering the show was set in the sixties. However some were brighter than others.
The show introduced us to the two sisters Jennifer and Marie played by Lola Saunders and Elizabeth Carter who brought these two to live perfectly and did have a strong sisterly bond on stage that did come across very well from an audience perspective. Saunders of X Factor fame sang every song she had with absolute grace and honesty, her tone suited every song perfectly and she made every song her own a massive round of applause to her and she is one to watch in the musical theatre world as she was definitely the stand out performance of the show for me. Carter portrayed the innocence of the character perfectly and had a very sweet voice which complemented the character perfectly she had the audience singing along quite happily in her rendition of a teenager in love. Her parents played by Rachel Nottingham and Kieran Kuypers were both exceptionally talented Saxophone players and actors. I really did love that the actors on stage also made up the band it goes to show the talent in the theatre world and all of these actors put this across perfectly the amount of talent on the stage couldn’t be questioned.
The American soldiers were all very well played but the two main soldiers were Antony Costa of Blue fame who gave a very humble and witty performance he is perfect for musical theatre and I really hope I get the chance to see him in more shows in the future as he is a true talent on stage, he was joined by Jason Denton as Curtis who gave a very loveable warm character and gave the audience a treat for the ears with his rendition of Sweets for my sweet. Which was entirely Acapella and sang by the entire cast with Denton as the lead it was stunning for the audience and for me probably the highlight of the show as it was sang with an air of absolute grace and to be that well performed stripped back to the bare bones of the song. No one can deny that this song is one of the best vocals in theatre at the moment and as a member of the younger generation it had a very Pitch Perfect feel surrounding it.
There was some lovely choreography in the show and it was lovely to see all actors on stage engaging in the dancing I especially loved the dances to Viva Las Vegas and 1,2,3 as these both were exceptionally feel good songs and the dances aided with this. I found myself singing Viva Las Vegas leaving the theatre as this is the song that had the most impact on me.
The end of the show was greeted to a standing ovation and the audience were then treated to a party like finale with songs and most if the audience up on their feet having a dance and enjoying every minute of it. The whole show was performed effortlessly by the cast and the fact they could play instruments too was superb. I did at point’s feel that the script although it was highly witty could have had longer scenes as at points I did lose what was happening but picked it up again quite quickly. Overall it was a lovely feel good show that could be enjoyed by all ages and I guarantee that if you went as a family you’d all have a lovely time no matter how old you are.
Save the Last Dance is showing at The Regent Theatre until Sat 30th April. Tickets are now on sale and are available from The Regent Theatre Box Office, by calling 0844 871 7649 or visiting www.atgtickets.com/stoke
Reviewer: Leanne Ashworth
Reviewed: 25th April 2016