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Gotta Sing Gotta Dance 2013 Tour
Review by Fiona Lister
Starring: Simon Adkins, Alison Dormer, Lucinda Lawrence, Rebecca Lisewski, David McMullan, Adam Rhys-Charles and Michelle White
Presented by Flying Entertainment and Jordan Productions
‘Gotta Sing Gotta Dance’ is the most ingenious, spectacular celebration of musicals through the decades you are ever likely to see. The two-hour long spectacle is dedicated to some of the greatest composers and writers of Broadway, the West End and Paris and features sixty songs from stage and silver screen.
What’s refreshing about this musical extravaganza is the unique staging. Thankfully the creative team has dispensed with the standard formulaic treatment of musical theatre stars standing side-by-side (concert style) in front of a microphone. Director Chris Jordan has opted instead for the rather grander razzle dazzle of Hollywood and Broadway; the seven strong cast sing, tap dance and high kick their way through melodies, harmonies, ballads, pop and jukebox numbers. The musical direction by Chris Whitehead and Musical Supervisor Robert Cousins is brilliant. The sensational band is positioned at the back of the stage and belts out classical and more contemporary songs from musical theatre scores without drowning the singers. It’s a fine balance and the Sound Design (Clement Rawling for MAC Sound), particularly noted at the Richmond Theatre, achieved a smooth flow for each song and dance routine.
Sixty songs means frantic costume changes as the cast races on and off stage dressed in anything ranging from uniforms of the type worn by the Andrew Sisters in the 1941 comedy/World War II film Buck Privates to top hats, pinstripes, Victorian cockney outfits, sparkling evening gowns and nuns’ habits (even for the chaps!) - yes, Nunsense and Sister Act are in there! Costume Designer Shelley Stevens has created attire that brims over with glamour which is not easy to achieve with seven cast members who are frantically changing backstage within seconds.
Jazz hands, tap shoes, roller skates, point work, high kicks and plenty of unusual props re-create lost eras and present day tub-thumpers. One minute you are listening to the 1935 “Lullaby of Broadway” by Harry Warren and Al Dubin and the next minute you tapping your feet to songs from the 1960’s musical Half a Sixpence.
Every song has been carefully linked to lead into each new era and theme and every audience member has their favourite songs. Simon Adkins is extraordinary in “Stars” (taken from Les Misérables). Rebecca Lisewski’s version of “Marilyn Monroe” from Blood Brothers and Lucinda Lawrence’s performance as Evita are both spellbinding. Adam Rhys-Charles is particularly magnificent in Cabaret numbers “Wilkommen/Money” and Alison Dorman gives an electrifying performance throughout particularly with “If” from Two On The Aisle and in the second half during “Mamma Mia”. Irving Berlin’s “Anything You Can Do” sung by Simon Adkins and David McMullan is a particular highlight in this production: a charming tribute to Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Michelle White is terrific as the Onstage Swing.
Together with Chris Jordan, Choreographer and Co-Director Nick Winston have directed a very slick, fast-moving high energy production and the tempo is consistent throughout. ‘Gotta Sing Gotta Dance’ is a refreshingly unique musical theatre gem. It’s camper than a field of Disney flowers and the cast has great fun accentuating the stagey in jokes and humour, particularly during the tap dancing routines. Young and older theatregoers are flocking to see this spectacular, memorable show and leaving each night with smiles on their faces and songs in their heads. Captivating, crowd-pleasing entertainment.
Check the Flying Music website for tour dates. To book your tickets, visit www.flyingmusicboxoffice.com.