Saturday Night Fever

RICHARD BATSON Norwich Theatre Royal


> Norwich Theatre Royal

Nearly 30 years since the classic film, there is no sign of this cocktail of disco music, dodgy dance moves and cheesy fashion losing any of its potency.

The show has been to Norwich before but keeps on touring provincial theatres because audiences are still intoxicated by its content.

From the moment the signature guitar intro to Staying Alive kicks in, and the star strikes the “pointing to the sky pose” - copied by a million dads at weddings ever since - the mood is set for a party.

The tunes are dancefloor classics, like Disco Inferno, You Should Be Dancin' and Jive Talkin'. The dazzling choreography is a product of Arlene Phillips' Hot Gossip rather than Strictly Come Dancing days. And the costumes are a reminder that the worst symptom of the fever days were the flared, garish clothes.

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A thin plot sees no-hope New Yorker Tony Manero transform at weekends into a strutting nightclub stallion, with a set of dance moves that drive the girls wild.

On opening night the lead role, billed for Sean Mulligan for the rest of the week, was taken by understudy James Hughes-Ward - a superb dancer of boundless energy.

His main co-stars are dance partner Stephanie, played by the equally agile Jayde Westaby, and would-be girlfriend Annette - featuring Channel 4 Musicality finalist Rebecca Dent, whose tiny frame contains a powerful singing voice.

Milking the humour as curly-wigged DJ Monty is Matthew Cutts, whose tight flares caused a stir among the women in the audience.

There was an impressive twist to Tragedy, with a rock-opera version by Stephen Webb as the suicidal Bobby C.

But the light overshadows the shade in this fun show. The dancing from a strong cast is at times stunning, particularly in the competition finale scene.

Saturday Night Fever continues to run a high temperature and was certainly an antidote to the Monday Evening Blues in wintry Norfolk.