Reviewed on Thursday 20th April 2017 by Sebastian Singh
Photo: London Theatre
This Richard Harris play follows eight very different individuals who attend the same weekly tap dancing class. They initially use the classes to socialise and as a result, their tap is of a low standard. As they start to become friends and trust and confide in each other, they transform and we see a group of competent tappers who’ve learnt to put differences aside and replace it with friendships.
Well directed by Maria Friedman, this play always had something going on; she highlights the moments of joy with laughter and warmth but empties the stage for poignant and emotional moments, which to me were the most believable scenes.
Robert Jones’ design was effective: a drab church hall whose backdrops changed with the seasons; it represents the mundane of weekly routines and the places we inhabit. At the end, we see a small stage that they rehearse on; the curtain pulls across as they are introduced a year on, as a group of adept tappers. The stage has transformed and is now a glitzy spectacle, which was highly effective and made it hard to believe that, a few moments before, we had been in a drab church hall.
This show was well cast and explored a range of personalities, although some characters felt exaggerated which took away from some very natural and believable moments. It was a glittering cast including Amanda Holden who plays posh very well, Sandra Marvin who is infectiously funny and warming, the always excellent Tracy-Ann Oberman and the very strong and watchable Natalie Casey. At this performance, the part of Mavis was played by Josefina Gabrielle; she did a wonderful job in the role and really captured the warmth and overwhelming emotion of the character and her situation.
The final tap number is marvellous and an absolute spectacle with top hats, canes and confetti everywhere. The cast look like they are thoroughly enjoying themselves and Tim Jackson’s choreography is wonderful. I left smiling after a very pleasant afternoon and I am sure many in the audience will have left considering getting involved in a dance class near them.
This production runs until June 2017.