The 1960’s are a decade I unfortunately don’t recall, this due to the fact that I wasn’t born until some twenty years later! However the Churchill Theatre, Bromley were taken back to that very era on Monday 1st August when Bill Kenright’s show, Save The Last Dance (UK Tour) came to town.
This is a musical full of many popular hits including Viva Las Vegas, Please Mr Postman and A Teenager in Love to name but a few. The rather predictable story was centred around sisters Jennifer and Marie who were on their summer holiday in the seaside town of Lowestoft, who happen to meet some American airmen shortly into their holiday. A holiday romance begins – but will it last?
I found the script often to be predictable and very slow to start with during the first part of Act 1 and it wasn’t until Act 2 that there was more substance and depth to this production. What did impress me were the highly talented actor-musicians, flitting from playing a punchy tune in one moment, to then appear in character a few moments later, and then back again.
There were a handful of moments during the show that I was left really impressed by the vocal ability and the vocal ranges of the cast. Sweet For My Sweet which was sung acapella was truly beautiful. However there were only a few moments like this ,as I was left largely unimpressed by the questionable accents of many of the cast. Many either kept dropping out of accent, or it wasn’t strong enough to be believable. There were also similar issues with their diction too, as well as the sound and microphones not being evenly matches – therefore it was often hard to understand what was being said/sung.
Anthony Costa, from boy band Blue, is the star of the show but unfortunately whilst his acting ability was somewhat impressive, he seemed to struggle in grasping the American accent at times, as well as singing flat during several songs. Joining Costa was Lola Saunders, an X Factor finalist. Whilst she had a very strong vocal ability and showcasing the volume of her vocals, she only appeared to show us the bolder side of her vocals rather than a softer and delicate vocal performance, which I would’ve preferred. Saunders also struggled with her accent throughout, but I was impressed with her dancing and she kept the high energy and punchiness of the dance moves throughout her performance, at times standing out from the rest of the cast.
Elizabeth Carter who played Marie has been perfectly cast for this show and both her dancing and vocals were a delight to see and it was a joy to see her play this role perfectly.
The audience were encouraged to join in and many did throughout the performance which gave some great audience participation and it was also encouraging to see a wide range of people enjoying this show, introducing some of them to their first taste of the music from the 60’s.
Save The Last Dance continues playing at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley until 6th August and then continues it’s UK tour.