STEPPING OUT To 10 December.


by Richard Harris.

Union Theatre 204 Union Street SE1 0LX To 10 December 2011.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat & Sun 3pm.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.

TICKETS:0207 261 9876. (booking fee applies).
Review: William Russell 18 November

Worth stepping in to.
This warhorse of a comedy by Richard Harris – it was first staged in the West End in 1984 – is flimsy to say the leas, with a vestigial plot and clichéd characters. It is, of course, the same recipe as A Chorus Line. Take a group of disparate people, set them a task, and see if they succeed.

Harris had the brilliant idea of taking a group of women, and one man, who belong to a suburban tap dancing class and watch them and their teacher as they rehearse for an amateur concert. Along the way, as they squabble and become a cohesive group, they reveal something about their lives outside the rehearsal hall.

There are no surprises – a battered wife, a step mother with a difficult stepson, a spinster with an elderly mother, a woman who is pregnant and does not wish to be, and a repressed single man. There is also a grumpy pianist. But the jokes are good, and the audience ends up rooting from these losers to succeed – and, of course, they do. The play ends with a rousing tap dance routine, cheers and tears all round, and the problems in their private lives pretty well forgotten.

Directed by David Ball, this first-rate revival has good performances from the entire cast. Barbara King, as Mavis, the slightly over-the-hill teacher, holds it all together, Ruth Evans is a delight as the bad-tempered lady at the piano, and Alexander Giles holds his own as the single guy.

But it is the whippet thin Helen Jeckells as the woman with an iffy marriage, a compulsion to both interfere and clean, and a killer smile that fails to conceal the panic within, who steals the show. She is hilarious.

Mavis: Barbara King.
Lynne: Laura Brydon.
Dorothy: Karen Burton.
Maxine: Nadine Cox.
Mrs Fraser: Ruth Evans.
Geoffrey: Alexander Giles.
Vera: Helen Jeckells.
Sylvia: Catherine Millsom.
Rose: Evadne Ricketts.
Andy: Helen Terry.

Director: David Ball.
Designer: Jason Gray.
Lighting: Steve Miller.
Choreographer: Mark Hedges.
Dance Captain: Laura Brydon.

2011-11-20 03:02:57

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