Under the glitzy neon lights of Disco lies the tough grind of life in 1970s Brooklyn in Ryan McBryde’s jukebox musical Saturday Night Fever, featuring the best tracks of The Bee Gees. Unlike previous musical adaptations of the movie classic, this one is closer to the darker plots of the 1977 film than any other that has came before.
Danny Bayne is impressive as Tony Manero, perfectly encapsulating petulant youth and incandescent rage while still keeping Tony a likeable hero the audience can root for. Naomi Slights is equally great as Stephanie, a young woman furiously struggling to make a better life for herself. Slights poignant performance of What Kind of Fool is genuinely moving, the musical highlight of the night. Bethany Linsdell does incredibly well in the under baked role of Annette, bringing life to a character whose only gets to be in love with Tony and be mistreated by everyone else.
Therein lies the major issue with this production, it spends so much time making Tony a complicated multifaceted character, it forgets a little about everyone else. They all become a tad one-dimensional, and feel like they are only there for Tony to bounce off of, rather than any personal story-arc.
Still, when the show hits it’s stride its pretty sublime. No one cast member gets to rest on their laurels, the ensemble not only dance but play a variety of instruments, giving the show a dynamic and organic feel. The disco scenes are of course the highlight, with classic and contemporary chorography being pulled off with aplomb by the cast, making sure fans of the original will not be disappointed.
The show excels at being a musical, but occasionally jars when trying to be a drama. Unmissable then, for fans of musical theatre, but a little disappointing for lovers of gritty drama.
Glasgow Theatre Royal, Until 3rd January (not 25th)