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Saturday Night Fever, Bradford Alhambra Theatre

Published by: Cameron Lowe on 12th Mar 2015 | View all blogs by Cameron Lowe

Review by Graham Clark

There have been popular stage adaptations of movie musicals such as Grease in the past, so it no surprise that Saturday Night Fever has proved to be a great success since it's original 1998 West End run.

 

Director Ryan McBryde has managed to bring the energy and magic of the 1977 film version to this high octane show.

 

Saturday Night FeverSet in Brooklyn in the late 70s, Tony Manero (Danny Bayne) is trying to escape his boring life and day job working in a paint store. The fuel crisis is in full swing and times are hard. The only light in his life is dancing at the local disco, "2001 Odyssey".

 

A dance competition is being held at the disco but Manero turns down one of his fans, Annette(Bethany Linsdell) in favour of social climber and girl about town Stephanie (Naomi Slights).

 

Of course it is the Bee Gees songs which make the show so special with the lyrics of the songs providing the narrative. A recurring theme is the lyric "Life going nowhere, somebody help me" with the lines being sung countless times throughout the evening.

 

The talented cast sing, dance and act as well as playing musical instruments; their brass section bringing the full force of the Bee Gees' songs to the fore. Without a star name in the musical the cast work hard to bring the film to life.

 

CiCi Howells plays the club singer at the disco.  She has a fine voice; always there in the background, reminding me of the narrator in Blood Brothers. She slows down the tracks at times turning them into a jazzy late night version of the original.

 

Unlike the film version ,the cast perform the Bee Gees hit, Tragedy, which actually was recorded and released 2 years after the film was released in 1977; but the words of the song work well within the context of the musical.

 

As is often the case in live theatre, the cast feed off the audience.  I saw the show at Blackpool a few weeks ago where the audience were much older and less enthusiastic than the Bradford crowd. The cast seemed to perform better and put more into their delivery than the previous version I witnessed.

 

There are a few loose ends to tie up at the end and some parts felt rushed but, other than that, this is an appealing show.  Disco Dynamite, no less.

 

Runs until Saturday 14 March, tickets from £25 available from:

 

www.bradford-theatres.co.uk

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