Save The Last Dance For Me - New Wimbledon Theatre (Review)
Review by David Munro
SAVE The Last Dance For Me is a jolly, bright, breezy musical based on pop songs of the 1960’s written by Pomus and Schuman, new names to me, although their works were very familiar from continuous playing on the radio.
When I say ‘jolly, bright and breezy’ I mean it is tuneful, well sung and danced and you don’t have to worry too much about the plot… whatever there was of it. All of which adds up to the feel-good factor of which this show is the perfect example.
Further, the show follows the modern trend of having the orchestra made up with the actors doubling as musicians so there is a continual movement between front stage and the band podium as the character finishes a scene and picks up his instrument for the next musical number.
The book is by Lawrence Marks and Maurice Gran, better known for comedy sitcoms like Birds of a Feather (also now out on tour) and Goodbye Sweetheart. Their sitcom skills are well exhibited in the framework they have devised for the ’60s pop numbers, which are the raison d’etre of the evening.
This concerns the love of a pair of sisters for two American Air Force men and mainly takes place in the mess hall during Saturday night dances, allowing the cast to let their hair down and show what they can do; which they do very effectively and with the maximum charm and dexterity.
Most of the solo singing is in the hands of about six soloists who play the principal roles, although the rest of cast sing along with gusto when they are not swinging it on the podium. Those selected to dance are energetic in their efforts as well as being delightful to watch.
Whilst I thought all the cast were equally talented I particularity liked Elizabeth Carter as Marie, the 16-year-old heroine in the throes of her first romance. Her singing was excellent and, for a change in this day and age, tuneful and on the note. Her dancing shows a lot of talent in that field as did her acting ability when she was called upon to bring it into play. If there is a star in this talented ensemble she is it!
Perhaps I can pick up a point I just made; all the singing was tuneful and all the cast could carry a tune without distorting and murdering it, which always is my bugbear in so many modern musical shows.
For the sheer celebration of its music alone this show is worth seeing without any denigration of its other assets.
This is no great classical musical but the show offers sheer entertainment from start to finish and that is what, in essence, theatre is all about. They can certainly ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’ and may the evening never end – I am enjoying myself far too much!
Save The Last Dance For Me
Book by Lawrence Marks & Maurice Gran
Music by Pomus & Schuman and others
Director – Bill Kenwright
Choreographer – Bill Deamer
Designer – Mark Bailey
Lighting – Mark Howett
Sound – Ben Harrison
CAST: Kieran McGinn – Elizabeth Carter – Lee Honey-Jones – VerityJones – Jay Perry – Sally Peerless – Alex Hammond – Alan Howell – Niamh Brackken – Hannah Nicholas – Joe Mccourt – Stewart McCheyne – Chris Coxon – Michael Kantola – Greg Davidson – Josef Pitura-Riley.
Producers – Bill Kenwrght & Laurie Mansfield
New Wimbledon Theatre, The Broadway, Wimbledon, London, SW19 1QG.
From Monday, March 4 – Saturday, March 9, 2013
Evenings: 7.30pm/Matinees – Thurs & Sat 2.30
Box Office: 0870 060 6646