I attended That’s Entertainment with special guest star Ruthie Henshall at the Churchill Theatre on the evening of the 29th June 2016. This is a show which focuses on the music from the 1940’s and 1950’s. The song choice ranged from musical theatre such as South Pacific and Carousel to ‘cockney knees up,’ to a celebration of the Rat Pack. There was an ensemble of 8 dancers, 4 principal singers and Ruthie Henshall strolling along every so often to deliver a number.
The show really varied, at moments I was cringing with the pure cheesiness of it yet moments later I was loving the energy, choreography and the talent of those on the stage. There was no disputing it, those on the stage were talented, especially when it came to the dance side of things. The moments of the show that stood out were the sections that allowed the dancers to shine and the costumes to sparkle.
Ruthie Henshall delivered her numbers nicely and you can clearly see why she is the West End (and Broadway) star that she is. Her interaction with the audience harking back to her days growing up in Bromley was a nice touch however I got the feeling that it was all very safe, including her song choice and delivery.
The show was performed to a backing track. I understand that budget restraints mean that there can’t be an orchestra or even a band for touring shows like this however the quality of the backing tracks does need to be considered. The ensemble singing was clearly powered by the backing track and when there are only 8 people tapping on stage but the tap click track sounds louder than a show such as Lord of the Dance then this needs to be addressed.
Often it was difficult to distinguish the voices on stage from the backing track. When those on stage were actually given a chance to sing without the overpowering vocal backings on the track they were good, in particular Simon Schofield’s rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ stood out.
This is the type of show you will enjoy if you enjoy a cruise ship style show. Many of the audience around me were older and this was very apparent during the section of war time songs when the audience was encouraged to sing along and this got the biggest reaction of the evening. If you enjoy your productions with a healthy dose of tits and teeth, plenty of froth and a programme that you will be entirely familiar with then this is up your street.
For more information on That’s Entertainment feel free to visit their website.