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Save The Last Dance For Me

Published by: Steve Burbridge on 22nd Feb 2012 | View all blogs by Steve Burbridge

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SAVE THE LAST DANCE FOR ME - Darlington Civic Theatre

For the first time without their parents, siblings Marie (Megan Jones) and Jennifer (Hannah Frederick) embark on a holiday to the seaside. It’s the summer of 1963 and a time when each passing week brings another pop classic.

Full of freedom and high spirits, the sisters meet a handsome young American who invites them to a dance at the local US Air Force base in Lowestoft. As if the heady combination of the power of young love and the thrill of a holiday romance were not enough, matters are made more complicated by the fact that Marie falls for a young man named Curtis (Jason Denton) whom is not only American but black, too.

Save The Last Dance For Me is the new production from the creative team behind the hugely successful Dreamboats and Petticoats. Written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (who also have hit TV sit-coms such as Birds of a Feather and Shine on Harvey Moon to their credit) and directed by Bill Kenwright, it certainly had the potential to be a box office blockbuster. However, the drama and dialogue are very much forced to play second-fiddle to the musical hits of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman.

That said, the songs do have the ability to transport the audience back to a nostalgic golden era in the history of pop music – and there are plenty of them, too! Act One boasts no fewer than eighteen hits, such as ‘Rhythm of the Rain’, ‘Viva Las Vegas’ and ‘Sweets for my Sweet’, whilst Act Two contains nineteen more, including ‘Teenager In Love’, ‘Tell Her’ and the title song. They are all performed by a truly talented cast of actor-musicians who had the ‘blue-rinsed brigade’ crooning along for all they were worth.

There are those who will, undoubtedly, say that this kind of show is more suited to the end of a seaside pier than a theatre – and perhaps they may be right. But, at the same time, it’s good old-fashioned harmless fun.

Save The Last Dance For Me may not be the stuff that West End wonders and touring triumphs are made of but, on press night in Darlington, there was no doubt that it is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Steve Burbridge.

Runs until Saturday 25 February at Darlington, then continues to tour nationally.




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