Last night I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of Saturday Night Fever at the Edinburgh Playhouse. With dance moves to rival strictly and an epic array of classic songs, it was an enjoyable night for someone who (dare I admit it?) hasn’t actually seen the film.
The story followed Tony Manero – played by Richard Winsor – who whilst in a dead end job still held on to optimism and his ultimately, his dream of dancing. With his guys behind him life centres around Saturday Nights at the 2001 Odyssey Club. However, life is not all shiny as Tony struggles with family problems at home, gang rivalry, his friends getting into all kinds of issues and wanting more in life.
Whilst children would love the dancing and music in this show, this was definitely not one to take the kids to as adult themes dominated throughout. There was a fair amount of swearing throughout, but violence towards women was frequent and the show ultimately ended with a death. However, I have to say although the plot was on the depressing side it was really superfluous as the focus of the show really was the music and dancing.
Right from the start the cast filled the stage with well choreographed numbers which saw them all dancing in sync. Tony and his dance partner, Stephanie Mangano had some amazing routines obviously culminating in a final dance competition at the club but I actually preferred their numbers at the dance studio.
Most of the songs were carried by three Bee Gees who stood above the cast on the set and whilst there was a couple of solo numbers from key cast members, for me the highlight was from DJ Monty (Faizal Jaye) of the 2001 Odyssey Club and actually the band. They remained on stage throughout the show – next to the Bee Gees high up on the staging above the scene below. The trumpeter was just insanely good and I really enjoyed the numbers he dominated. I wish I could find his name in the program as he was epic.
However, what I really enjoyed the most was watching the audience. A lady in the row in front of us was dancing to every number throughout and was a bit rife with the cat calling – but at the end of the show the Stalls looked more like the floor of a disco with so many people up and dancing. It was clear that some people were reliving their youth and just really having a good time.
Overall, whilst I would say it didn’t have the strongest plot – the show maintained a fast pace throughout and given that the songs and dancing dominated – it made for a great night out. I’d said 3 stars in all.