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That’s Entertainment, Theatre Royal Glasgow - 7th-11th June 2016

Published by: Jon Cuthbertson on 9th Jun 2016 | View all blogs by Jon Cuthbertson

Billed as “The Dazzling Song and Dance Extravaganza” and “The Greatest Hits of the 40s and 50s”, That’s Entertainment sells itself to be quite a show. With a rather strange mix of songs and guest stars who don’t seem to exactly fit the remit of the show, the promise seemed to be going amiss. However, the energetic cast turned all that around and the show title says exactly what they provide and That’s Entertainment.

 

It’s actually hard not to like this show, 4 excellent lead vocalists, 10 energetic ensemble dancers and Elaine C Smith doing what she does best – entertaining a crowd. The show doesn’t get off to the best start – opening with the title number – when the tap dance routine is “enhanced” by recorded tapping. Such a shame as the cast looked like they could easily have coped without this extra help (and that goes for the recorded voices too!). And while we are discussing music – my biggest bugbear in this kind of show – no live band! Billed as an Extravaganza should mean that we at least see some live musicians! Trying to ignore these bad points (difficult as the recorded tapping appears another 3 or 4 times) is made a lot easier by the talent that is on the stage. The dancing during “Puttin’ On The Ritz” was wonderful. The lead vocalists all take a turn of wowing the audience. Sean Smith (famous as one half of X Factor Act, Same Difference) showcases the clarity in his vocal with On The Street Where You Live and Some Enchanted Evening amongst others. Simon Schofield and Emma Kate Nelson not only show off brilliant vocals, but great dancing skills too during “Good Morning”, “A Couple Of Swells” and “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and Simon continued to show his excellent range of voice in the closing of Act 1, a simply staged and very rousing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Loula Geater gave a wonderful version of The Trolley Song (with very clever choreography and staging) and pitched her version of Stormy Weather just perfectly. The 10 strong ensemble gave great support and it seems a shame to single anyone out, but Bethany Dows’ routine with the boys during Luck Be A Lady was dynamic and it was hard not to be drawn to her during other routines too – much like Charlie Barker who was full of character during his dancing too.

Throughout the tour the show has a different guest star, and I’m sure they will all bring something different to the show – Jane McDonald was in Edinburgh and Ruthie Henshall and The Overtones join at other points on the tour. In Glasgow, we were presented with our very own Elaine C Smith (suppose it saved the producers another hotel room!). In her first spot, it seemed like this didn’t entirely fit with the style of the show, but if anyone knows how to work an audience, it’s Elaine C Smith. In each of her guest spots we had our own little mini cabaret – some stories, reminiscing about the movie musicals and also some songs too. Getting the crowd going with an a cappella version of Deadwood Stage lead seamlessly into her version of Secret Love. In later appearances she covered some Billie Holliday (My Man) and Jack Jones (Wives and Lovers) showing off a warm and rich voice that easily works without all the comedy too.

 

Although the set is simple, the lighting design by Martin Perkins elevates the class of the production. With the beautiful costumes (of which there are many – the ensemble females barely make an entrance to the stage without changing costume each time) and the slick transitions make it a visually pleasant show and minus the few flaws (the cockney knees up section? Yes, they even played the spoons – and even those were recorded too!) it could make itself an exceptional show. If you are looking for a west end type musical – then head to the Kings this week for Guys and Dolls. However, if you are looking for an evening of laughter, classic songs and energetic, enthusiastic and polished performances, then head to the Theatre Royal and catch That’s Entertainment – this is a cast that deserves and audience and deserves their applause.

 

Listing Information

 

Tue 7 – Sat 11 June 2016

Evenings: 7.30pm                                            

Matinees: Thu & Sat at 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow (booking fee)

 

0844 871 7647 (booking fee)

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