Scotland reviews 27 items
Saturday Night Fever at the Edinburgh Playhouse
From the moment the curtain rises to reveal an electric blue stage and the sounds of Stayin’ Alive, Bill Kenwright’s production of the 1977 film starring John Travolta is a worthy tribute to the Bee Gees and disco culture.

As the reflections from glitter balls around the auditorium fall on the audience, there are gasps from admiring women (and some jealous men) as Richard Winsor starts to strut his stuff as Tony Manero, a paint-mixer in Brooklyn who dreams of winning a dance competition.

To some, Winsor is best known as Caleb in BBC's Casualty, but he is a classically trained dancer, studying at the Central School of Ballet, and for 10 years was a principal with Matthew Bourne’s company. All this is evident. He really knows how to make the most of Bill Deamer’s choreography, and his classical training comes to the fore in Tony’s tribute to his friend, in Immortality. However, he looks as though he is concentrating too much on his moves and not enough on his acting. I know Tony lacks confidence but Winsor looks as if he is really just concentrating. I don’t get anything from him of Tony’s character. Faizal Jaye as the DJ, on the other hand, exudes personality. He is really enjoying himself and is a joy to watch.

Obviously, this show is all about dance, and the hard-working, high-kicking cast have my complete admiration. Their routines are slick, fast and, at times, defy gravity!

But a particular highlight for me is the tribute group, With the Bee Gees. Listening to Edward Handoll as Barry, Alastair Hill as Maurice and Matt Faull as Robin, is just like listening to the Gibb brothers. As a Bee Gees fan (from the day I had my picture taken with them as an 18-year-old trainee reporter!) I find their performance quite moving as I am taken down (a very long) memory lane.

With so much good music and movement it would be very easy to ignore the messages and dark moments in this production, but they do make their mark.

Though their parts are small, Phillip Aiden as Tony’s abusive father, and Raphael Pace as the needy Bobby C remain in my mind, while Kate Parr is both feisty and vulnerable as Tony’s dance partner Stephanie.

All credit too, to Gary McCann’s set, Nick Richings’ lighting and Rich Morris’s musicians, though, as he was in view most of the time, I wish drummer Dan Hayward had looked happier!

Saturday Night Fever is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Oct 27.
0844 871 3014 Book online

It then continues touring:
Oct 30 - Nov 3: Blackpool Winter Gardens 0844 856 1111 Book online
Nov 13 - 17: Llandudno Venue Cymru 01492 872000 Book online
Nov 20 - 24: Bradford Alhambra 01274 432000 Book online
Dec 27 - 01: Wales Millennium Centre 029 20636464 Book online