Writers: Jon Conway &Shane Richie
Director: Alan Harding
Reviewer: Naomi Stevens
A flashback through the age of disco with the help of a band dressed in zebra stripe flare suits, an ex-soap star and some talent show runners up may not be the top of everyone’s must-see list. However, what you get is an extremely entertaining evening of disco balls, tight trousers and a lot of classic tunes. This run through of the 1970’s is filled with the music from the decade along with disco dancing, suitable costumes and cheese – what more could you want?
The audience are varied, consisting of all ages and some are clearly fans of the show coming dressed in appropriate attire (flares, wigs, shades, you name it) and are clearly up for a good time. It is actually impossible not to get up and dance, or at the very least tap your feet and clap your hands (even some folk on crutches were joining in). Audience participation is, in fact, welcomed.
Despite the minimal (and rather thin) plot, this production is carried along by the music and indeed a plot is not really required as this musical is all about the songs. Each cast member takes their turn in the spotlight as they dance and perform their way through famous numbers such as I Will Survive, I Feel Good, You’re My First, My Last, My Everything and D-I-S-C-O.
Shane Richie Junior takes the leading rôle as Roddy, and he is a natural on stage as he works with the audience to get them all involved. He gives a confident performance and sings a rendition of Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word very well. His group of friends made up of Chico Slimani, Gareth Gates and Andy Abraham all stand out for different reasons. Gates gives the best vocal performance throughout, though this is hardly surprising with his career to date and he can certainly be seen in a whole different light during YMCA. He gets plenty of time to show off what he does best and shine he certainly does.
Slimani has all the moves and with his snake like hips and toned physique he is great fun to watch despite his rather geeky on stage persona. One to watch out for is his Michael Jackson routine which he pulls off rather well. He also manages to get his shirt off on several occasions which is most definitely a crowd pleaser. Abraham is strong vocally and has songs which are highly appropriate for his character; he too gets plenty of opportunity to show what he is capable of.
All of the girls dance their way admirably through the two halves, and Louisa Lytton can certainly keep up with the moves, however vocally she is the weakest link. She is extremely smiley though and her dancing and sweet character make up for the slight lack in voice. The four piece band play to a consistently high standard and definitely deserve a mention.
There are bright costumes straight out of the ‘70’s, there are afros and catsuits and the whole production is really rather camp. If you want a show which will have you smiling from beginning to end with catchy music, corny humour and the chance for a good old sing-a-long then Boogie Nights is perfect. Go and watch it for a good time, it is impossible not to have one.