Review: Somewhat faded Cotton Club

Norwich Playhouse, St George's Street, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich Playhouse, St George's Street, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

This celebrated New York jazz venue, the Cotton Club, at its height back in the thirties and forties, was rather unfortunately renowned for the racial aspect of being a troupe of brilliant black musicians and dancers, putting on an energetic and highly skilled show for a totally white audience.

This sad historical dichotomy was beautifully and sensitively presented in the Cotton Club show at Norwich Playhouse, with a wonderful team of skilled, hardworking and professional performers.

The energy levels, quality of dancing and singing were all more than acceptable. The music from a skilled small group of players was spot-on, but an overall limited ensemble sparkle, drive and precision made this show just a little less than perfect.

One of the most difficult factors to handle as a reviewer is any level of disappointment in a show. This is especially difficult when the performers have worked so hard to achieve a fine standard but the overall performance does not quite hit the heights that it should.

Sadly but, happily rarely, have I had to be negative in my reviews, but the Cotton Club event at the Norwich Playhouse seemed to be just a little tired.

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My partner and I at the event enjoyed the show, yet found that afterwards in our discussion, we both agreed that it could have been just a little more energetic, polished and, perhaps, needed a little dash more of that mysterious added ingredient of magic.

The audience seemed to love the energy but sadly I could only award this performance perhaps nine out of ten.

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