Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Tuesday, 16 February 2016
Saturday Night Fever, The Musical. Feb 13, 2016 ***1/2
Written by Robert
Stigwood assisted by Bill Oates, featuring songs by The Bee Gees and others, produced
by StageArt Chapel
off Chapel, until Feb 28, 2016 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Feb 13 Stars:***1/2 NB The writer's credit (above-Stigwood) is taken from the program for this production. It does not match the credits for the original stage production. KH
Mike Snell as Tony Manero
Fever celebrates infectious, hip-thrusting 1970s disco music but also reveals a
grim underworld that lies beneath the shiny nightlife of disenfranchised youth
in Brooklyn, New York in 1979.
directed by Robbie Carmellotti, is based on the West End revival (2013-14) that
incorporates dialogue and songs from the 1977 John Travolta movie of the same
name, simplifies the set design and features the dancers playing instruments.
great strengths of this production are Luke Alleva’s sweltering, disco
choreography, The Bee Gees unbeatable disco hits and the thrilling harmonies and rousing
chorus arrangements by musical director, Tony
repertoire include Gibb brothers’ tunes, Jive Talkin’, Stayin’ Alive, You
Should Be Dancing, Night Fever, More Than a Woman, but also the pulsating Disco Inferno (The
Trammps) and Boogie Shoes (K.C. and The Sunshine Band).
Tony Manero (Mike Snell), Italian
stallion heartthrob and disco dance king at Brooklyn’s 2001
Odyssey Nightclub, is obsessed by winning the club’s disco dance competition to cement his
reputation as Brooklyn’s best dancer and prove to his parents and himself that
he is not a bad-boy ‘loser’.
Snell is an accomplished dancer with
a tuneful, upper register that suits the peppy, disco style and he captures Tony’s
audacity and vulnerability, although he lacks the smooth sensuality and
machismo of Travolta’s Tony.
Playing Tony’s dance partner, Stephanie,
Sheridan Anderson is an assured, versatile dancer with a fine, bright, musical
theatre tone and she effectively captures Stephanie’s brittle confidence and poignant
hopes of changing her life by moving up the social ladder.
A musical highlight is Anderson and
Snell singing the ballad, How Deep Is Your Love, backed by the ensemble.
As Tony’s adoring, needy ex-dance
partner, Annette, Elise Brennan has a rich tone and warm
vibrato singing If I Can’t Have You, and her duet of Nights On Broadway with
Anderson features rich, stirring harmonies.
Watson singing and playing guitar as Monty, the MC at 2001 Odyssey, is a crowd
favourite when he leads the company in Disco Inferno.
major drawback in the production is the uneven quality of acting, particularly
in the paint shop, Tony’s family scenes and some of the nightclub episodes.
some miscasting, shallow characterisation and poor delivery of dialogue
dissipate the high-octane energy of the musical numbers and the darker
narrative elements about sex, drugs, racism, rape and unemployment are less
satisfyingly dealt with than the musical scenes.
the memorable music, vivacious choreography and effervescent energy almost make
up for any shortcomings, making Saturday Night Fever a raucous night out.
Mike Snell & Sheridan Anderson, pic Belinda Strodder
Robbie Carmellotti - Director
Tony Toppi. -Musical Direction
Mike Snell -Tony Manero
Sheridan Anderson -Stephanie
Elise Brennan -Annette
Dean Shulz -Bobby C
Paul Watson - Frank/Monty
Duane McGregor -Joey
Joseph Spanti i-Double J
Geoffrey Winter -Frank Jnr/Fosco
David Sirianni - Cesar.
Emma Russell Daniel Ham Casey Davis;
Madison Lee; Samuel Bennett Guada Bañez; Cassie Miller; Rachel Bronca;
Alexia Brinsley; Kai Mann-Robertson