Friday, 28 June 2019

REVIEW: On Your Feet at the London Coliseum

On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan is in London for a limited season at one of the most beautiful venues - The London Coliseum. 

For those who grew up listening to Gloria Estefan music - this is absolutely the show for you to see. I’m sure tourists would love the show too but it’s certainly not for everybody. Bursting with energetic dance routines from Sergio Trujillo and an impressive lighting design by Kenneth Posner, the show certainly is visually stunning. The ensemble dancers give it 110% from beginning to end but don’t even break a sweat; a testament to the obvious hard work and dedication they have put into their craft. 

Leading the cast as Gloria Estefan was Christie Prades and George Ioannides as Emilio. Prades gave an energetic, honest and innocent performance as Gloria and this was complimented by the smooth performance given by Ionnides. From the moment Ionnides entered in those white shorts - I think he had everyone on side. Whilst slightly pitchy in parts, his characterisation made up for it. 

Prades grew a lot in confidence throughout the show and with that, came slicker dance moves and stronger vocals.

Madalena Alberto & Karen Mann both gave very believable performances as Gloria Fajardo and Consuelo. Easily the best actors on the stage - every word was spoken with truth and maturity despite not having the best material to work with. 

The book, written by Alexander Dinelaris, let it down for me and I became quite bored in the scenes and - almost awkward - transitions. While there were a few single lines that got a laugh from the crowd - I don’t think those reactions would be present on a regular Thursday night . The book felt stiff and sporadic with no real sense of time moving forward apart from when it was spoon fed to the audience. 

The big difference between this show and other jukebox musicals of its style, like The Bodyguard and Jersey Boys, is the story seems to freeze when there is a musical number. None of the musical numbers seemed to drive the story apart from one song in act two that was written specifically for the show. 

A special mention must go to the Child Cast. Normally, I’m not a massive fan of children in shows but the young Gloria, who I believe to have been Klaudia Gjergji, can absolutely hold her own amongst the adult cast. Her stage presence, vocals and dance ability were almost unbelievable for a young lady her age. She is definitely one to watch in a few years time. 

Overall, I wouldn’t say the show was bad nor would I say it was fabulous. It’s okay. That’s where I think it sits. It’s okay. I think it’s more of a show that an American audience would love. I think London is too polite and reserved for its sass and attitude. 

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