Nicholas Lyndhurst & Cassidy Janson to join cast of Man of La Mancha alongside Kelsey Grammer

TV Legend Nicholas Lyndhurst &

Musical Theatre Star Cassidy Janson


Kelsey Grammer & Danielle de Niese



Featuring the iconic song


London Coliseum

Friday 26 April – Saturday 8 June 2019

It was announced today that the BAFTA award-winning actor Nicholas Lyndhurst and West End star Cassidy Janson have joined Kelsey Grammer and Danielle de Niese in the acclaimed musical Man of La Mancha which opens at the London Coliseum on 26 April 2019.

Man of La Mancha, produced by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade, the producers who brought Chess, Carousel, Sunset Boulevard and Sweeney Todd to the London Coliseum – are collaborating again with English National Opera to bring a brand new production of the multi-Tony award winning Broadway musical, Man of La Mancha to London, the first West End production of this much loved musical in over 50 years. 

Nicholas Lyndhurst, who will play the Innkeeper and the Captain is best known for his TV work which includes the classic series Only Fools and Horses as well as Goodnight Sweetheart and New Tricks. His previous stage credits include  the Grade/Linnit production of Carousel at The Coliseum and Trevor Nunn’s The Tempest at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Cassidy Janson who will share the role of Aldonza and Dulcinea with Danielle de Niese, played the lead role in the recent production of Chess at the London Coliseum and the lead in the West End production of Beautiful: The Carole King Story.  Cassidy is one third of Leading Ladies, a group formed in 2017 with fellow musical stars, Beverly Knight and Amber Riley.

Man of La Mancha will play a limited season, with performances from 26 April to 8 June 2019.  The press performance is on 30 April 2019.  It will be performed with ENO’s 35 piece orchestra.

Emmy award winning and Tony nominated actor Kelsey Grammer, best known for playing Dr Frasier Crane in NBC’s hit series’ Cheers and Frasier will make his West End debut playing Miguel de Cervantes and Don Quixote and the international opera star and soprano Danielle de Niese will share the role of Aldonza and Dulcinea with Cassidy Jonson.  Danielle will play the roles in 33 performances and Cassidy in 17.

Man of La Mancha will be directed by Lonny Price, who directed Linnit and Grade’s acclaimed London production of Sunset Boulevard at the Coliseum starring Glenn Close, as well as its hugely-successful subsequent Broadway transfer. 

Featuring the iconic song ‘Dream the Impossible Dream’, Man of La Mancha is Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’s masterpiece Don Quixote.

In a 16th century dungeon Cervantes and his man servant await trial from the Spanish Inquisition.  In his possession he has a trunk carrying an unfinished novel, Don Quixote.  As prisoners attempt to steal his possessions, Cervantes embarks on acting out his novel as his defence, transforming himself into Alonso Quijano.

Quijano, deluded, believes he is a knight errant, renames himself Don Quixote de la Mancha, and sets off on a fantastical quest with his man servant Sancho Panza. 

Chivalry abounds in this classic tale of knighthood, love, loyalty and adventure. 

The music in Man of La Mancha is by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion and book by Dale Wasserman.

‘The impossible Dream’ has become an internatonally-renowned song, and has been performed by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, Luther Vandross and The Temptations, amongst others.

Kelsey Grammer played Dr Frasier Crane in Cheers and Frasier for two decades.  He has won five Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards and a Tony Award nomination in 2010 for his performance in La Cages aux Folles.

Opera Soprano Danielle de Niese, described by the New York Times magazine as ‘opera’s coolest soprano’ has performed to audiences world-wide, from the Metropolitan Opera to Covent Garden as well as performing on stage with LL Cool J. Sky Arts will feature Danielle as the subject of her own Southbank Show, presented by Melvyn Bragg on November 21, 2018.

Joining Lonny Price on the creative team is conductor David White, set designer James Noone, lighting designer Rick Fisher, sound designer Mick Potter and casting director David Grindrod CDG.

West End LIVE returns to London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June 2019

DATE FOR THE DIARY: West End LIVE returns to London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June 2019

Trafalgar Square will once again be transformed into a theatre like no other with the return of West End LIVE.

Featuring performances from London’s best musicals, live and for free, this hugely popular event – a joint production between Westminster City Council and Society of London Theatre (SOLT) – is the ultimate celebration of London’s West End and an annual highlight for theatre fans young and old.

Date:  Saturday 22 June & Sunday 23 June 2019

Location: Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN

Tickets: Free event, no tickets required // @WestEndLIVE // #westendlive // @westendLIVE

The Worst Witch Review

Sheffield Lyceum – until 2 February 2019

Reviewed by Lottie Davis-Browne


Long before J. K. Rowling had even thought up the idea of Harry Potter, author Jill Murphy had created her own magical character – Mildred Hubble. At just fifteen years old, Murphy created the character along with the other characters basing them on herself and her friends. “Mildred is based on myself when I had plaits so long I could sit on them!”, states Murphy, “Maud is based on my little best friend, Elizabeth and all the teachers (both nice and nasty!) are based on my school teachers.”

With eight published books (the most recent one being in 2018 – “First Prize for the Worst Witch”) and the first one in 1974, The Worst Witch has been hugely popular for decades. Along with the books there has been a television movie made in 1986, plus several television series (the most recent one still running at series three), so to finally have a stage adaptation is a dream come true for myself, having grown up in the early 80’s obsessed with the books and movie.

This book-to-stage adaptation is cleverly done as a play-within-a-play. In her final year at Cackles Academy for Witches, Mildred (“Millie”) Hubble (Danielle Bird) has written a play based on her years at the “oldest magical school in Britain”. However, as the play will also be shown to “plebs” (as the students call them) or “normal people” to you and I, Miss Cackle (Polly Lister), Miss Hardbroom (Rachel Heaton) states that “the use of magic is strictly forbidden…and cats must be left at home”. “The Worst Witch, by Mildred Hubble” – the play written by and staring Mildred (as herself) is announced as the story starts.

We meet young Mildred dressed in a different uniform to the other three girls – she explains she is from a non- magical family, and that she was due to start at the local City Academy, but on her first day of school whilst waiting for the bus she encountered three young witches awaiting a transportation spell to Cackles Academy. When Mildred mistakenly gets transported with them to Cackles she is given the opportunity to prove her worth and stay at Cackles Academy. It’s not all plain sailing however; she has the snobbish Ethel Hallow (Rosie Abraham) to contend with “witches are BORN, not made!” Ethel snarls when Millie is given the chance to stay on.

The story, and Mildred’s play continues as we meet her best friends Enid (tonight played by Emma Lau) and Maud (Rebecca Killick) along with Tabby – Mildred’s aptly named cat – a clever and effective hand puppet (get your programme to see how you can make your very own puppet cat!) but trouble is looming with the arrival of Miss Cackles evil twin Agatha (watch the hilarious Polly Lister as she is at one point literally split down the middle playing both Agatha and Miss Cackle!).

Act Two was certainly more lively with better special effects than Act One, designer Simon Daw has excelled my expectations of bringing the famous Cackles Academy to life with his spellbinding stage set, the characters look somewhat similar to Murphy’s original drawings (although I felt they’d leaned more towards the current television series characters with their casting, for example Miss Cackle is neither particularly old or plump in this production, however that is just a minor thing as a huge fan of the books that I’d picked up on). Having grown up with the books I always empathised with Mildred Hubble and felt, like Mildred, I didn’t quite fit in – something most young girls feel at some point.

Whilst I was eagerly anticipating Murphy’s books finally being given the stage treatment I was somewhat disappointed with this production. At times it lacked magic (no pun intended), felt painfully slow paced and duller than the dark uniforms of Cackles Academy.

However the young audience – the new generation of Murphy fans – seemed to adore it with the current television series bringing in the fans (admittedly I am somewhat hooked on the current series despite being almost 40 years old!). If this production had come out fifteen or so years ago, I’d probably be raving about it. It’s got potential to be spell binding, full of charm and every bit as enticing as the current series but sadly didn’t quite conjour up enough of the magic that Murphy’s books did for me.

The Duchess of Sussex makes her first official visit to the National Theatre as Royal Patron

The Duchess of Sussex makes her first official visit to the National Theatre as Royal Patron

The Duchess of Sussex today made her first official visit to the National Theatre. Earlier this month The Duchess was announced as Patron of the National Theatre, one of two Patronages passed on to her by Her Majesty The Queen. The Duchess is a strong believer in using the arts to bring people from different backgrounds and communities together. Today Her Royal Highness had the opportunity to see some of the work the NT is doing across the UK with communities and schools as well as hearing more about training opportunities for backstage careers.

The Duchess was welcomed to the National Theatre by Director, Rufus Norris, Executive Director Lisa Burger and Chair Sir Damon Buffini before joining a workshop with members of the Public Acts company led by Public Acts Director Emily Lim.

Launched last year, Public Acts creates extraordinary acts of theatre and community. The first Public Acts production was a new musical adaptation of Pericles which brought over 200 people of all ages from across London together with 6 professional actors to breathe new life into the Shakespeare classic in a new musical version. Following the workshop the Duchess met with Percy, Sharon and Blessing from the Public Acts company who told her about their experiences of being part of Public Acts and performing in Pericles last summer on the Olivier stage. 

Her Royal Highness then met current and former apprentices who are working as technicians in various departments including carpentry, metalwork and painting. The NT launched its apprenticeship and trainee programme in 2011. In most cases, the apprentices study for a level 2 or 3 qualification with a learning provider, combined with an opportunity to put the training into practice in the workplace, guided by some of the best practitioners in the country.

The Duchess of Sussex also heard about the National reach and impact of the NT’s work and met with Jenna Omeltschenko, Touring Partnerships Manager. Jenna looks after the learning and education work on the National Theatre’s touring programme across the UK. She also recently worked with over 60 schools across the UK who hosted our schools’ tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which was performed to nearly 13,000 students.

The Duchess ended her visit by watching a performance inspired by War Horse by primary school children from Edith Neville Primary School from Camden which was created to mark the centenary of Armistice Day. As part of this project primary schools were invited to see War Horse at the National Theatre and, in partnership with the Imperial War Museum, take part in a creative programme to enrich children’s understanding of World War One.

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome The Duchess of Sussex to the National Theatre today for her first official visit as our Royal Patron. The Duchess shares our belief that theatre has the power to bring together people from all communities and walks of life so it has been wonderful to introduce her to members of the Public Acts company today. The Duchess also heard more about our work outside of London across the country as we continue to build on our national work through our tours and learning programmes. We very much look forward to working closely with Her Royal Highness in the years to come and sharing more of our work with her”.

For more information on the National Theatre, visit:

Juliet Mills stars in The Lady Vanishes



Following the success of The Case of the Frightened Lady and A Judgement in Stone at Richmond Theatre, The Classic Thriller Theatre Company brings THE LADY VANISHES from Mon 11 – Sat 16 Mar.

Based on the 1939 Hitchcock classic and considered one of the best British films of all time comes a quick-witted and devilishly fun thriller with an all-star cast lead by husband and wife actors Juliet Mills and Maxwell Caulfield. Joining them is Lorna Fitzgerald, fresh from her shock departure from BBC’s EastEnders in the role of Abi Branning, Matt Barber (Atticus Aldridge in Downtown Abbey)Robert Duncan (Drop The Dead Donkey), Philip Lowrie (Dennis Tanner in Coronation Street) and Ben Nealon (Soldier Soldier).

Celebrated Emmy award-winning actress Juliet Mills’ debut was with her father John Mills in the movie In Which We Serve, aged just 11 weeks! More recently, in ITV’s Wild at Heart, she portrayed Caroline DuPlessis’ sister, played by her real-life sister Hayley. Other screen credits include the lead in US paranormal drama Passions, which ran for eight years. Her major stage debut was in Peter Shaffer’s Five Finger Exercise, in which she starred in the West End and on Broadway age 16.

Award-winning Maxwell Caulfield’s numerous big screen and TV roles include starring with Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2 and as Miles Colby in the hit American soap opera Dynasty and its spin-off series The Colbys. Caulfield made his Broadway debut in J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and his West End stage debut as Billy Flynn in Chicago.

When Socialite Iris’ unexpected travelling companion suddenly disappears, Iris is perplexed to find that all the other passengers deny ever having seen her. But with the help of musician Max, she turns detective, and together they try to solve the mystery of why the lady vanished…

The production is directed by Roy Marsden who is best known as an actor, particularly in his role as Commander Adam Dalgliesh in ITV’s P.D. James series, which he played for 15 years. But he has also been directing plays since he was 15 years old and had successful West End runs with Noel Coward’s Volcano and Agatha Christie’s (under the pen name Mary Westmacott) A Daughter’s a Daughter. This is now Roy’s third time directing a Classic Thriller Theatre Company production having previously directed Rehearsal for Murder and A Judgement in Stone. 

The Lady Vanishes at Richmond Theatre

Mon 11 – Sat 16 Mar
Tickets: From £13*

Show link:

Richmond Box Office: 0844 871 7651* Website:*
*Fees apply.  Calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery Review

Storyhouse, Chester – until 2 February 2019

Reviewed by Joseph Everton


Halfway through a triumphant tour of the UK, the hilarious The Comedy About a Bank Robbery by Mischief Theatre Company continued its march into a grateful Chester last night. This, the second time I have seen this gem, was another glorious night of theatre set in the wonderful Storyhouse. After the success of the Laurence Olivier award winning The Play That Goes Wrong, writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields are back with another crowd-pleaser.

After escaping from prison with the assistance of bent screws and their families (including a baby), Mitch Ruscitti (Eddy Westbury) heads back to 1950s Minneapolis to steal Prince Ludvig of Hungary’s (George Hannigan) half a million dollar diamond with the help of his man-eating girlfriend, Caprice (Julia Frith), from the Minneapolis City Bank- a ramshackle establishment and the last place anyone should stash anything of value. Throw in bank clerk Ruth Monaghan(Ashley Tucker ); her son and petty crook Sam (Sean Carey); ‘the most unfortunate man in the world’, Warren Slax (Jon Trenchard ); a flurry of relentless one liners and you have a recipe for laughter that is as almost as exhausting as reading this paragraph.

“This is the best comedy I’ve seen in years, is this” said the gentleman behind me during the interval and I scribbled down the quote happily. It was difficult to disagree. The reactions from the audience tell you everything you need to know about this show, with oohs, aahs, gasps, cheers and laughs abound. There are moments of real brilliance, leaving the audience desperate to show their appreciation. George Hannigan playing Caprice’s trio of manipulated admirers was hugely entertaining and, without wanting to spoil any surprises, the whole dimension flipping scene where the audience get a bird’s eye view of proceedings in the bank’s office was as impressive as it was hilarious. From perfect comic timing, boundless enthusiasm and heaps of athleticism to Ashley Tucker’s impassioned vocal performance, each and every aspect of The Comedy About a Bank Robbery was brilliant. A word must also go to David Farley, who brought life to the drab setting of a bank, ensuring that the audience never lost interest.

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery will wow crowds at Chester’s Storyhouse until 2nd February then continue it’s UK tour until early June. Get in from the cold, avoid the news and go and laugh at an outrageously funny show

Lee Nelson at King’s Hall, Ilkley

Lee Nelson
Serious Joker
Thursday 28 February 2019, 8pm
Tickets: £21.50*

*All prices shown include booking fees but are subject to postage charge if applicable.
Bradford Theatres usual terms and conditions apply.

Following his 150 date, smash-hit tour, Lee Nelson brings his hilarious new show Serious Joker to King’s Hall in Ilkley on Thursday 28 February

From council estate to comedy and entertainment king, Lee Nelson is the star of hit shows Well Good Show and Well Funny People. He has enjoyed five sell out tours to date and made a host of appearances on Live at the Apollo, to make him one of the biggest stand up stars in the country.

Lee Nelson was created by Simon Brodkin who, as well as appearing as Premier League superstar Jason Bent and dodgy medical practitioner Dr Bob, is one of the world’s best-known prankster as shown in his Channel 4 documentary Britain’s Greatest Hoaxer. To date targets have included: Sepp Blatter, Britain’s Got Talent, Kanye West, Manchester City, Donald Trump, Philip Green and most recently Theresa May

Recommended age 14+

Tickets available from Bradford Theatres Box Office on 01274 432000 or visit

Benidorm Review

New Victoria Theatre, Woking – until 2 February 2019

Reviewed by Becky Doyle


From start to finish I could not take my eyes off the stage, the colours, the costumes and the actors were mesmerising. Having been a fan of the TV show the stage show did not disappoint!

For me, Adam Gillen (Liam) was my standout performance, he had me in stitches. Not only that, he made me feel compassion for Liam with his naivety and vulnerability that shone through. The story flowed well, with the Hotel Inspector being the least expected suspect. It provided the gasp moment that was heard throughout the theatre at the end before the show came to a close with a fantastic, interactive song and dance.

The set of the show was utilised to its best, with the feeling that you travelled with them throughout the resort getting ready to have your hair cut by Kenneth (Tony Maudsley) or a cocktail made by Mateo (Jake Canuso), which leads me to on him. He was fantastic, and continuously played to the crowds. During the talent show scene, he had the audience clapping and wanting to dance along whilst realising how utterly talented he is with his background in dance.

Overall, this show was one that even if you weren’t familiar with the TV series you could get involved with and enjoy. I would recommend it to anyone who was up for a giggle and for someone who wanted a let loose show.


Watford Palace Theatre presents

Absurd Person Singular

By Alan Ayckbourn

Director: Brigid Larmour; Assistant Director: Vedi Roy; Composer: Anne Dudley

Designer: Amy Jane Cook; Lighting Designer: Jamie Platt; Sound Designer: Roger Dudley

7 – 30 March 2019

Watford Palace Theatre todayannounces full cast for Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular. Joining the previously announced Terence Frisch (Sidney) and Jill McAusland (Jane) are Oliver Longstaff (Geoffrey), Emily Tucker (Eva), Sarah Quist (Marion) and Walter van Dyk (Ronald). The production, directed by Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Watford Palace Theatre, Brigid Larmour, opens on 12 March, with previews from 7 March and runs until 30 March.

It’s Britain on the make in 1971 and backstage at the party, three marriages are in the pressure cooker.

Sidney wants to play party games, but he also needs a loan from Ronald. Marion wants to go home, but definitely needs another drink. Eva would (literally) rather be dead, but Geoffrey’s certain she’ll be happier once he’s left her.  Meanwhile Jane’s still in her Marigolds, desperately trying to keep the kitchen ship-shape. A hilarious vintage gem from a master of comedy.

Alan Ayckbourn is a playwright and theatre director who has written 82 plays – his latest, Better Off Dead, premiered in September 2018 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre (SJT). His credits include Relatively Speaking, How The Other Half LovesThe Norman ConquestsSeason’s GreetingsAbsurd Person Singular and Woman in Mind.His  Inducted into American Theatre’s Hall of Fame, a recipient of the Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts, he became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre.

Terence Frisch returns toWatford Palace Theatre to play Sidney having appeared as the Dame in eight pantomimes for the company. His other credits includeJoy Bubbles (The Other Palace), SeptimusBeanandHisAmazingMachine (Unicorn Theatre), AndyCappThe Musical (Finborough Theatre), Oysters, Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience(UK tour), Women of Troy, The Ring Cycle Plays(The Scoop),TheManualOracle (The Yard Theatre), Jerusalem(Royal Court Theatre), TheLordofthe Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe) and The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (Royal Exchange Theatre); and for film,Hugo.

Oliver Longstaff returnsto Watford Palace Theatre to play Geoffrey – he previously appeared in Sleeping Beauty. Other theatre credits include Crime (Bezna Theatre), Surgeon to the Dead and The Academy of Melancholy (Old Operating Theatre, Southwark); and for television, 1Life.

Jill McAusland returns toWatford Palace Theatre to play Jane, having previously appeared in seven pantomimes for the company.Her other theatre credits include The MoorCorrespondence (Old Red Lion), The Lost Boy (Theatre in the Quarter), Miniaturists 50: Alcatraz (Arcola Theatre), Out of the Cage (Park Theatre),Ghost Town (Pilot Theatre/York Theatre Royal), Jumpy (Royal Court Theatre /Duke of York’s Theatre), Alice in Wonderland (Royal & Derngate Northampton) and The Conspirators (Orange Tree Theatre); and for television,Call the Midwife and Getting Back with Dave Benson Phillips.

Emily Tucker returns to the company to play Eva – she previously appeared in Much Ado About Nothing. Other theatre credits include Head-Rot Holiday (The Hope Theatre), Fortune’s Fool (The Old Vic), A Warsaw Melody (Arcola Theatre), Suddenly Last Summer, Lady of the Lake, Fallen Angels (Theatre by the Lake), Shiver – The Tempest (National Theatre Studio), The Man Who Pays the PiperThe Stepmother (Orange Tree Theatre), After the Ball (The Gatehouse), As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden) andThe Importance of Being Earnest (Courtyard Theatre). Her television credits include Not Safe for Work; and for film, Heretiks and The Seasoning House.

Sarah Quist plays Marion. Her theatre credits include King Lear (Royal Exchange Theatre), A Mad World My Masters, HecubaAlice in Wonderland (RSC), The Wind in the WillowsThe Merry Wives of Windsor (Grosvenor Park), The Amen Corner (National Theatre), Bacchae (National Theatre of Scotland), The Tempest (UK tour), Wimbledon (Tristan Bates Theatre), Come Out Eli (Arcola Theatre/Battersea Arts Centre), Romeo and Juliet(Southwark Playhouse) and Five Buddies in a Box (Savoy Theatre). Her television credits include Stella.

Walter van Dyk returnsto Watford Palace Theatre to play Ronald – he previously appeared in Arms and the ManEqually DividedSleeping Beauty and Dick Whittington. Other theatre credits includeA Flea in Her Ear(The Old Vic), Enter the Guardsman (Donmar Warehouse), Two Gentlemen of VeronaHigh SocietyA Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), O Moon of Alabama: A Kurt Weill Cabaret (Young Vic), Insufficiency (Riverside Studios), The Importance Of Being Earnest (Rose Theatre Kingston), The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs (Salisbury Playhouse), The Boatswain’s Mate (Finborough Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Theatr Clwyd) and What Now Little Man? (Greenwich Theatre); and for film, The CarrierThe EagleIncognito and Abbot’s Approach.

Brigid Larmour is Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Watford Palace Theatre. Her credits for the company include Much Ado About NothingComing UpJefferson’s GardenLove Me Do andWatchFourteenPerfect MatchWe That Are Left and Mrs Reynolds and the RuffianEqually DividedOur FatherMy Mother Said I Never ShouldTime of My LifeAbsent Friends,As You Like ItRobin HoodSleeping Beauty and Dick Whittington. From 1998 to 2006 she was Artistic Director of West End company Act Productions, and adviser to BBC4 Plays. From 1993 to 1998 she directed a series of promenade Shakespeare’s Shakespeare Unplugged, for RNT Education. From 1989 to 1994 she was Artistic Director of Contact Theatre, Manchester, commissioning the first British plays responding to the rave scene (Excess/XS), and the implications of virtual reality (Strange Attractors, a multimedia promenade production, by Manchester poet Kevin Fegan). She trained at the RSC, and as a studio director at Granada TV.

Watford Palace Theatre                                                                                                                            Listings

20 Clarendon Rd, Watford WD17 1JZ

Absurd Person Singular

7 – 30 March 2019

Box Office: 01923 225671

Age: 11+

Saturday Night Fever Review

Hull New Theatre – until 2nd February 2019

Reviewed by Catherine McWilliams


Last night the highly talented cast of Saturday Night Fever strutted their stuff with verve and vitality. The show started with a stunning full cast dance to Stayin’ Alive, setting the scene and giving us an inkling of what was to come.

Saturday Night Fever tells the story of Tony Manero (Richard Winsor), who lives in a working class suburb of Brooklyn, working in a dead end job in but living for Saturday nights when he can go to the disco and dance. He has a talent, but of course this is the 1970’s and there is no way he would be encouraged, but it is dancing that makes him feel alive. The action zips from his home, to work, to the disco, to the dance studio and to hanging out with his friends at the bridge. This production does not pull any punches in showing the rawness of this life.

Accompanying the action is the music of The Bee Gees, but never out of place or just used as filler. All of the music was relevant, at times heartbreakingly so. The music is superbly performed by The Bee Gees (Edward Handoll, Alastair Hill and Matt Faull) who are up above the action on an industrial type walkway.

The dancing throughout is sublime and if there are dances you liked in the film, they are here, but oh so much better when performed live, Jive Talking was a real highlight. The ensemble cast is incredibly talented and quite literally took my breath away a number of times.

Richard Winsor as Tony Manero is the lynchpin of the show and has the walk, the attitude, and oh does he have the moves! He is totally believable as Tony as he draws you into his world, you care what happens to him. It is quite some skill to be able to casually get changed on a stage whilst preening yourself in a mirror that isn’t there! His solo dance to Immortality, performed after the death of his friend, was heartbreaking so full of raw emotion and beautiful to watch. Like his character, Richard Winsor was clearly born to dance!

Kate Parr as Stephanie Mangano and Anna Campkin as Annette are perfect foils to Tony as his dance partners and love interests. Anna Campkin’s rendition of If I Can’t Have You was very poignant. Raphael Pace (Bobbie C), Jared Thompson (Double-J), Owen Broughton (Gus) and Michael Cortez (Joey) provide excellent back up and support as Tony’s friends.

Special mention should go to Faizal Jaye as DJ Monty, a talent to watch for, his moves up on his dance podium were magic. As my friend put it “like watching molten metal.”

Everything comes together in this performance, the scenery and lighting taking us to a believable downtown Brooklyn and the Band (Richard Morris, Jeremy Wootton, Eikel Hernandez, Luke Beirne, Ali McMath and Dan Hayward) providing stunning music. What I particularly enjoyed was that at no time was the music overpoweringly loud, the lyrics came through to add to the story.

At the end the audience was quickly on their feet to join in with the Megamix and give the cast the standing ovation they fully deserved. What can I say, get those flares on and get down to Hull New Theatre to see this show – never mind Staying’ Alive, you will come out feeling alive! Me – I’m off to practice my dance moves…