24-28 February 2015
Reviewed by Joanne Francklow
If you’re a fan of the ‘Bee Gees’ music and enjoy the theatre this is a “Must See”!
The show starts with a clip from 1979 of American President Jimmy Carter expressing his concerns over the death of the “American Dream”. Times in the US were hard as the country had gone from energy independence to importing half of its fuel from abroad. People were producing less and saving less and as a result the President felt the country was in ‘crisis of confidence’ as the American people were having doubts about the meaning of their lives. He believed the nation had lost its “unity of purpose” which he believed was the real threat to the social fabric.
Saturday Night Fever is a story, which focuses on the life of a young American boy ‘Tony Manero’, who lives in New York with his unemployed father, mother and sister. With a low paid job in a paint shop, and being part of a working class lost generation, his paycheck was spent on the weekends hanging out with his friends at the local disco. With a love of dancing, his only prospect of achieving a better life was to dance with ambitions of moving to Manhattan and perhaps enjoy a career as a dancer.
With the Bee Gees producing disco hits in the 1970’s they provided the soundtrack to the musical which includes their hits ‘Jive Talking’, ‘Staying Alive’, ‘Tragedy’, ‘Night Fever’ and ‘More Than A Woman’.
The show itself was thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable, with the familiar songs from the Bee Gees being played and sang live on stage occasionally so powerfully they gave you goose bumps! Danny Bayne, playing Tony Manero not only had a great singing voice and fantastic moves he also had a convincing New York accent and suited the role very well. Naomi Slights played his love interest ‘Stephanie’ and together they sang and danced beautifully.
The choreography was energetic with all cast members putting on an excellent show but what impressed me greatly was how talented they were. Danny and Naomi may have had the lead roles but credit has to be given to all cast members especially the musicians who not only played their instruments on stage, they played them while participating in the disco dance routines. To disco dance while playing a trumpet, saxophone or guitar cannot be easy, however, they danced and played to perfection.
The scene changes were smoothly carried out and I loved the way the musical director was cast as the DJ in his DJ booth at the top of the stage during the disco scenes. All very well thought out and a great way to incorporate everyone into the show.
I found the second half of the show more enjoyable than the first and for me the star of the show had to be the ‘Club Singer’ CiCi Howells. CiCi’s voice, style and performance was amazing. Not only does she sing beautifully, she plays saxophone, trumpet and guitar, a very talented lady and I loved how she appeared at the top of the stage under a dim light adding more of a stage atmosphere for her role as Club Singer.
I have previously found Milton Keynes Theatre rather hard to find as the signs to it seem to be few and far between the closer you get to it. If you find yourself parking at the rear of the theatre it can seem a bit of a maze through the restaurants to actually find it. However, having been to the theatre previously I managed to find the car park at the front, therefore, easily found my way to one of the restaurants in the area for a pre-show dinner then on to the show.
Milton Keynes Theatre itself is very comfortable and clean and I found all the staff to be very helpful.
Having seen the movie of Saturday Night Fever previously, I was familiar with the story and being a fan of the music I went with the view that I would enjoy the show and I have to say it did not disappoint. Would I recommend people to go and see it? Absolutely!
Tickets cost from £12.90 to £42.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Saturday Night Fever is at the Milton Keynes Theatre until 28 February 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8717652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3NZ