Catch The Fever
Phil Hopkins, Arts & Travel Editor
Temperatures were running high at the Alhambra last night as Saturday Night Fever arrived in Downtown Bradford with all the arrogance and pizazz of a Travoltaesque hip swirl!
The testosterone flowed with greater ease than the interval beer pumps, and several generations were on their feet at the end, as the infectious music of the Bee Gees pumped through the auditorium, proving that the original iconic movie – and the disco 70’s – had certainly stood the test of time.
This was a wonderfully uplifting musical, despite its dark storyline, and Richard Winsor, in the title role as Tony Manero was the perfect choice with more thrust in his hips than a Boeing en-route to New York.
[SIMILAR}We are in the US in the late 70's, discomania’s arrived and has become the one escape for a band of disillusioned kids including Manero, iconised by Travolta, but made totally believable by hip swivelling Winsor and his would-be lady sidekick, Stephanie Mangano, beautifully played by the leggy Kate Parr.
Despite challenging themes – Manero’s brother leaving the priesthood bringing shame to his Italian family, abortion, suicide, and social deprivation – the music washes away the stains of life with its uplifting beats and the promise of something better. It is worth Stayin’ Alive and, despite Tragedy, everyone is encouraged to put on their Boogie Shoes and dance their troubles away.
Saturday Night Fever is as politically correct as pork at a Bar Mitzvah, but it is a show that is refreshing in its honesty, painting the 70’s as they were, not as the noughties would like to think they should have been!
At a superficial level it has lots of fantastic Bee Gees music but, if you dig a bit deeper, it really does tell the story of its time, a period in history when grass roots America really began to question the American Dream; a president was dead, black race riots abounded and the country's crisis of confidence was so low that even Jimmy Carter had to take to the airwaves.
For those fifty somethings like me it was great re-visiting those teenage years but, once in a while, it takes the passing of time to realise what period you were actually living through and how much of it you never really noticed; ah, the follies of youth!
This was a dynamic, youthful cast that drove the show forward with all the force of a steam train. It was full of energy and, for a minute, I almost leapt out of my seat, were it not for the fear of damaging my back or prompting the beginnings of a hernia!
A great antidote to drudge and dreary Autumn nights!
Saturday Night Fever
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
Until Saturday24th November 2018
Catch The Fever, 21st November 2018, 9:27 AM