Save The Last Dance For Me, Playhouse, Review
“1-2-3, it’s so easy, it’s like taking candy off a baby”. So sang Len Barry from one of the many songs from the early sixties featured in Save the Last Dance for Me at the Edinburgh Playhouse all this week.
This show has been created by the same people that were behind Dreamcoats and Petticoats which has enjoyed success in the West End and on tour with the shops full of overpriced compilations The formula 1-2-3 is a back catalogue, a love triumphs storyline and seaside postcard humour and hey we’ve got a show. The audience seemed to enjoy a dose of nostalgia with some singing along to songs of their own teenage years and looking back to these pre-beatles times.
The show is about two sisters, one working and one in the top end of school being allowed to make the journey from Luton to Lowestoft for a caravan holiday without parental supervision. The older sister, Jennifer who thinks she is worldly wise promises to keep her younger naive and innocent sister Marie in her sights at all times and off they go looking for a week of freedom and fun. The delights of a wet Lowestoft are brightened up when they are lured to the nearby American airbase where the crew led by Milton are pleased to see new English female company for a short-time romance.
Although Jennifer rejects the amorous advances of the lead singer of the band called Curtis Marie falls for him in a big way. The rest of the storyline is about their trials and tribulations in trying to extend the relationship beyond a holiday romance.
There is a serious theme in that Curtis is a Black American and while the British likes to think they are superior to the U.S.A. in terms of racial tolerance then the prejudice issue raises its head. It is interesting that the story portrays that the black sergeant from the U.S. military police is also as uncomfortable with the situations as the girl’s parents.
The music comes from the collaboration between Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman so there is quite a few numbers associated with Elvis as well as mainly American artists who held sway in the charts before the groups took over in a big way. Some numbers were delivered with more panache than others with a three-in-a-row early in the show and at the beginning to middle of the second half the pick of the numbers
Jason Denton makes a great job of ‘She’s not you’ and handles the leading man role effectively although the writers could have given the part more dialogue to build the character.
Megan Jones plays the teenager in love and is on stage most of the show and is totally at ease whether singing solo or in an ensemble.
Megan and Jason certainly won over the audience with audible ‘aahs’ when their relationship was going well. Generally the singing was good although there were a couple of numbers from the back catalogue that could have been left to gather dust.
The humour comes mainly from an Italian ice-cream seller from Wolverhampton and Graham Weaver develops that character well along with Hannah Frederick as the older sister who has most of the innuendo laden lines.
This show is a budget production and while the theatre is not asking top dollar for seats, it can be best described as a pleasant night’s entertainment rather than one that will blow you away.
If I had theatre tokens for Christmas, I would look at all the ‘goodies’ coming to the Playhouse in 2012 and keep them in reserve.
Til Saturday 4th February, 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday, 2.30pm