Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever
Saturday Night Fever at New Wimbledon Theatre

Saturday Night Fever is an iconic movie with iconic dance moves. Even those who haven’t seen the film or any of the previous productions of the musical are able to identify the night fever move and the white suit.

The show is set in the 1970’s and set to Bee Gee’s music. We meet Tony Manero who lives to dance. When his regular Saturday Night haunt, 2001 Odyssey, decides to hold a dance competition he has girls throwing themselves at him so they can partner up. Tony however only has eyes for Stephanie Mangano, a dancer determined to get across the bridge and make it in Manhattan.

Saturday Night Fever had a slightly odd format in so far as all of the songs were sang by the 3 Bee Gee’s who constantly appeared then disappeared on a raised platform at the back of the stage. Whilst they sounded great the concept itself jarred and made the evening feel more like a tribute act than a musical. On 3 occasions they were joined by other members of the cast however on each occasion the sound balance was off and you could barely hear the character singing. In Bobbie C’s number, ‘Tragedy’ the number went from being barely able to hear Raphael Pace, who was playing Bobbie C, to the key he was singing in clashing with the falsetto voices of the ‘Bee Gees.’ Their constant traipsing on and off stage also got tiresome and would have preferred to have had them sat there throughout, as the band did.

Richard Winsor

Richard Winsor who plays Tony

Tony Manero is the focal point of the show and the success, or not, of the production falls to him. Richard Winsor took this role and unfortunately he looked uncomfortable and out of place. The character itself is not a particularly likeable one and therefore he has to ooze charisma like John Travolta. Instead Winsor just sneered throughout. This may have been forgivable if his dance wowed but on several occasions he forgot the routine, appeared to be looking at cast members to help him remember the choreography and his attack felt lack lustre.

The rest of the cast however danced well and there was several moments of enjoyable choreography by Bill Deamer with many traditional disco moves performed with style. In the slower numbers such as ‘If I Can’t Have You’ and ‘Tragedy’ the direction by Bill Kenwright was poor and simply had both Annette and Bobbie C doing a lap of the set whilst singing.

Whilst the show undeniably has great songs and moments of impressive dance it is let down by a combination of a weak leading man, the change in concept for the delivery of the songs and unimaginative direction. The show is very early on in it’s run and hopefully some of these issues can be ironed out as the run progresses.

Saturday Night Fever is playing at New Wimbledon Theatre until the 8th September. Click here to visit their website.

If you liked this review you might also like my review for Madagascar the Musical, Heathers at The Other Palace  and Titanic the Musical.

9 comments

  • Great review. Totally agree

    • Saw it tonight in Cardiff. Left after the interval. Poor show. Needs more work on it. First time ever I have walked out on a show

  • Saw it last night, totally agree with this review.

  • Loved it
    All the dancers were fab, especially Richard
    Bee Gee singers were great also,
    A very enjoyable evening had by all.

  • Watched this 16th November with a group of friends, we all really enjoyed it don’t let the negative reviews put you off. Richard as lead man was amazing superb acting and wonderful dancing…. In my opinion not to be missed would love to watch it again….and again…..

  • Just seen this on 20th November, totally agree with this review, weak performance, very disappointing as we were really looking forward to the show.

  • I saw this Friday evening in Cardiff and felt quite let down. I think the book has been so diluted from the film for a more family version. So parts didn’t gel at all and the story was here there and everywhere. That said the songs and set are superb. The Bee Gees sing most of the song but when the other member of the cast sing its good. I didnt hate but i didnt love either, shame

  • Spot on review. I saw it last night in Dartford and it obviously hasn’t improved. It could have been so much better. The songs are so good it’s a shame the lead, Wilson, isn’t up to the role. I totally agree that the slower songs were cringeworthy as there was no choreography for them.
    I was relieved when it ended…

  • I saw it last night in Canterbury and thought it was awesome. Especially richard Windsor. All the songs and dance sets were excellent

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