Review: Saturday Night Fever at The Alexandra, Birmingham

by Dave Massey twitter.com/brumhour

Saturday Night Fever at The Alexandra

Saturday Night Fever is at The Alexandra (previously the New Alexandra Theatre) until Saturday 29th September, based on the 1978 film starring John Travolta this funky and brash musical drama is jam packed with with well known music.

Richard Winsor plays Tony Manero, a young Italian American living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Working in a hardware store and living with his family,  he spends much of his nightlife at a local club 2001 Odyssey, dancing the night away along and hangs about with his male friends, Bobbie C (Raphael Pace), Double-J (Jared Thompson), Gus (Owen Broughton) and Joey (Michael Cortez).

Richard Winsor (Tony) and the Cast of Saturday Night Fever photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Richard Winsor (Tony) and the Cast of Saturday Night Fever photo by Pamela Raith Photography

Tony’s friend Joey has got his traditionally catholic girlfriend pregnant and is doing best to avoid getting married. Its this first casual hint that Tony Manero can’t spend his life just dancing his nights away, the pressures of being an adult are soon mounting up. Local girl Anette (Anna Campkin) has an almost stalkerish unblinding love for Tony, but Tony himself has his eyes on Stephanie Mangano (Kate Parr). And again this echo of adulthood seeps through what looks like lighter situations.

I haven’t seen the whole film of Saturday Night Fever, I’m sure I managed to see some minutes of the 18-rated version of the film before it was switched over by my parents to something less adult. This stage version is littered with swearing and also contains homophobic slang and language which could be considered racist even for the time. Suicide, attempted rape, physical child abuse references and alcohol abuse are some of the themes which are handled throughout this production. It feels a little clean when its representing the grit of 70s Brooklyn.

Richard Winsor (Tony), Owen Broughton (Gus), Jared Thompson (Double-J), Raphael Pace (Bobby C), Marios Nicolaides (Frank Junior) and Michael Cortez (Joey) photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Richard Winsor (Tony), Owen Broughton (Gus), Jared Thompson (Double-J), Raphael Pace (Bobby C), Marios Nicolaides (Frank Junior) and Michael Cortez (Joey) photo by Pamela Raith Photography

Richard Winsor’s clear background in ballet comes through in Tony’s character as he skillfully dances his was through many set pieces, but I did miss any mention of when Tony himself may have learnt ballet. We did see Tony sharpening his moves at a local dance studio so maybe he learnt there.

Ed Handoll, Alastair Hill and Matt Faull join an onstage band to play The Bee Gees, Barry, Maurice and Robin respectively. Without any lines themselves they are the strong soundtrack and the audience clearly adored them.

Kate Parr (Stephanie) and Richard Winsor (Tony) - Saturday Night Fever photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Kate Parr (Stephanie) and Richard Winsor (Tony) – Saturday Night Fever photo by Pamela Raith Photography

This is an ideal Saturday night out for any fan of the film or the music. It’s bold, brash and not afraid of its subject matters.

Book tickets to see Saturday Night Fever which is at The Alexandra until Saturday 29th September here: atgtickets.com/shows/saturday-night-fever/new-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/


This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to see Saturday Night Fever by The Alexandra.

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