Monday, 26 September 2016

REVIEW: Save the Last Dance for Me at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

From the Producers of Dreamboats and Petticoats comes Save The Last Dance For Me; a jukebox musical billed as ‘the greatest summer holiday of their lives’.

The show is set in Luton and Lowestoft in 1963 and centres around the two sisters Jennifer and Marie and their holiday romances. X Factor Alumni Lola Saunders takes the role of elder sister Jennifer and gives a strong performance in her musical theatre debut. A confident and ballsy singer and accomplished mover she towers over Antony Costa from boy band Blue who shares the top billing with her.

Costa proves to be a far better actor than he is singer, with his voice lacking strength on some numbers though remaining pleasant enough for the material he’s given. Musically, the show follows a similar vein throughout with no real shift in pace or tone throughout the 29 (plus finale!) songs.  The sheer volume of songs meant that the audience longed for something different and the numbers, though sung nicely, played exquisitely and pitch perfectly mixed, rolled into each other.

Clearly this was a show for those who like their theatre as bland as their food, but even the most easy going of audiences must have longed for a bit of drama and a hint of jeopardy to kick-start proceedings.

It’s hard to knock a show so carefully crafted and performed adequately. No cast member excelled nor did anyone let the side down; but it was all just too gentle and tame to get excited about.  Give this cast a show with 9 less songs, a better script and more meaty characters and then you’ll have a show on your hands.

Sadly much of Save The Last Dance For Me sailed by without leaving much of a lasting impression. If this was the ‘best summer of their lives’, I’m glad I missed the 60s.

Review by Andy Edmeads 

Rating: ★★
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