“Save The Last Dance For Me”
“Save The Last Dance For Me” is a jukebox musical written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, who brought you “Dreamboats and Petticoats”. It uses songs from the 1960’s written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman such as “A Teenager in Love”, “Sweets For My Sweet”, “Little Sister”, “Viva Las Vegas”, “Can't Get Used to Losing You”, "Tell Him", "Please Mr Postman" and, of course, the title song “Save The Last Dance For Me”
So what’s the story?.....
It’s 1963 and teen sisters Jennifer and Marie go on holiday to a caravan in Lowestoft without their parents. They meet a handsome American airman, Milton, who is stationed at a local airbase and he inivites the sisters to a dance at the base. At the dance the youngest sister Marie meets, and eventually falls in love with Curtis, a black airman from Tennessee. The story deals with themes of racial tension both in the American military and British society, as well as Anglo-American relations in the 1960s. A pretty serious issue but with the joyous musical from the period it has quite a fluffy feel to the musical.
Antony Costa (Milton), who you may recognise from the boy band Blue.I was quite surprised at just how good Antony was. A natural performer, which shouldn't come as any surprise but hearing him sing some of the best hits of the 60's with ease did. For the last ten years he's been honing his stage craft, which shone through in this show.
Lola Saunders,(Jennifer) who you may just remember from The X Factor 2014 and living proof that not winning the X Factor will not hold true ambition back. You wouldn't think that this is Lola's stage debut as she's a natural. A lovely natural easy-going performance and what a voice!
Wayne Robinson,(Curtis), and if you saw "Thriller Live" you may remember Wayne as one of the lead vocalists. A voice that is just dripping with smooth soul and when he sings songs like "Can't Get used To Losing You" and "Lonely Avenue", that soul just oozes out and seeps into your ears
Elizabeth Carter, plays Marie, who falls for Curtis in a big way. A lovely innocent performance but with a big voice and an even bigger smile that lights up the whole stage.
Sackie Osakonor (Rufus), is another big voice in the band and adds a lot of soul to Pomus and Shuman's songs.
A brilliant ensemble who help shake, rattle and roll through the 28 sixties classics and most double as the band, playing the music live on stage giving a real powerhouse performance.
The setting for most of the action was the club at the U.S. army base in uptown Lowestoft. Bright and colourful complete with stage, Wurlitzer jukebox and bar where you can always get a "dog" and a "jack" (that's a hot dog and a Jack Daniels) and a coke.
Some of the comedy surrounds the two languages, which at times causes a few raised eyebrows from the U.S. contingent. You have to be careful when asking an American if he has a "fag" in the 60's!
Let's face it, what's not to like in this brilliantly colourful musical which also aims to showcase an issue that is still rife today, racial prejudice. Great songs that you know all the words to, wonderful comedy, a flashy set, great live band and some excellent acting from everyone as well as some high energy choreography.
The hardest part of this show is trying to keep your feet from tapping, your hands from clapping and you from not singing along, before the finale that is where you can get up and have a jig and a singalaong.
"Save The Last Dance For Me" is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 27 August 2016