Are you ready for a disco inferno? You should be dancing, yeah! Well now is your chance as Saturday Night Fever is in Milton Keynes Theatre this week. Be ready to be strutting your stuff and wearing your best outfits. If you have a white three-piece suit – even better!
Tony Manero has a lot on his shoulders. He is paying his way at home as his dad was made redundant, and Tony already had a difficult relationship with his dad. Tony’s mum, a devout catholic, can only think about Tony’s brother Frank, who is leaving the church. Tony’s job is going well but it’s a dead-end job and not a future that Tony wants. Tony’s friends all look to him and lean on him with their own problems. Tony lives for Saturday nights at the 2001 nightclub. He loves to dance and he is really good at it. He believes if he can win a dance competition, it would be life changing.
Tony is played by Jack Wilcox and he gives Tony that edge of vulnerability that makes us take Tony to our hearts. He is bordering on arrogance at times but we forgive Tony as we know he has been put down all his life. Jack is a fantastic dancer and to steal a line from the show – ‘I love to watch him dance’. He has a solo dance number towards the end of the second act which is just spectacular. Stephanie is played by Rebekah Bryant and Rebekah gives Stephanie that aloofness as she tries to fit in with her Manhattan colleagues and steps away from her poorer Brooklyn upbringing. I loved how Rebekah sometimes slipped back into her old Brooklyn ways and then corrected herself. Rebekah is an incredible dancer too. The story is hard hitting and gritty – after all its Brooklyn in the 1970s. Both Tony and Stephanie are trying to better themselves without knowing exactly how to go about it.
Annette is in love with Tony and until Stephanie hits the scene, she is Tony’s regular dance partner. Being brushed aside she does all she can to get Tony’s attention. Annette is played by Billie Hardy who plays the part perfectly. We do feel sorry for Annette as no one can be blamed for who they fall in love with. Tony’s gang comprises of Double-J (Liam Morris), Gus (James Brice), Bobbie C (Harry Goodson-Bevan) and Joey (Dominic Gore) who all bring their characters to life. They all have issues but especially Bobby who has got his girlfriend Pauline, pregnant.
The whole storytelling aspect of the show is sublime. It covers some difficult subjects but that is the charm of Saturday Night Fever. It’s a story with real characters and the cast are exceptional at bringing them to life. Although it is set in the late 1970’s, the truth is that those characters are still recognised in today’s society which makes this show an enduring one. There are also three Bee Gees singing in the background to give the songs the credit they deserve. Barry (AJ Jenks), Maurice (Drew Ferry) and Robin (Oliver Thomson). They sang brilliantly and along with the onstage band really gave the show its music credibility. A huge shout out to the trumpet player for his amazing solo.
The disco scenes were fantastic. The use of a huge mirror reflects the light-up dance floor and it makes you want to get up and dance with the dancers. So, if you fancy a bit of a boogie, strut down to Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 11 October 2022.