Gotta Sing Gotta Dance

Rating ****
Reviewed by Roz Carter

Richmond Theatre

I have to admit, I didn’t have high hopes for Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance. Packaged up as a musical theatre pick & mix, I was convinced that this review would be a scathing exposé on how terrible a show it was. Well, that will teach me to judge a show by its programme.

Gotta Sing Gotta Dance is actually jolly good fun! Unlike some other musical theatre reviews, it doesn’t try to weave the songs from various other shows together to in a threadbare plot that even a Mills & Boon writer would consider too sappy. Instead, it cheekily brings the performers themselves into the foreground, having them explain various pieces of musical theatre history and acknowledge the performance context they’re in, all while singing their socks off. This show does exactly what it says on the tin and is just pure entertainment without the pesky problem of having character and plot development.

It very cleverly links together the songs making obvious segments including American vs British, Nuns gone wild, Andrew Llyod Webber and a lovely section dedicated to the elegance and athleticism of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Nick Winston’s choreography has the 6 actors tap, leap, jazz hand and even play the spoons to great applause (the little old lady I was sitting next to seemed to thoroughly enjoy the spoons…who wouldn’t I ask?).

The company are strong as a whole and my god have they got energy! Simon Adkins and David McMullen’s tributes to Astaire and Kelly is incredibly enjoyable to watch as they trip the light fantastic with ease. Simon Adkins is certainly a tall drink of water and his version of Stars sends Goosebumps up and down my spine, while Adam Rhys-Charles’ rendition of Cabaret is rather saucy indeed. The girls all have fantastic voices but it is Rebecca Lisewski and Lucinda Lawrence’s sense of humour that gives them the edge; Lawrence is especially good in Taylor the Latte Boy which has the audience in hooting with laughter.

Unfortunately the technical in this production really lets the side down. The stage is flanked by two large screens that have incredibly tacky projections shown on them throughout the show. Seriously, they look as if they ran out of budget at the last minute and just went on google images. Similarly, the lighting just isn’t tight enough with several songs being momentarily halted while the actors wait for the lighting to catch up.

But technical glitches aside, Gotta Sing Gotta Dance is a blooming enjoyable whirlwind tour through musical theatre. I’ll admit that recently I was becoming jaded with the theatre, but this production reminds you of just how much fun going to the theatre can be. Everyone, from the little old ladies next to me to the musical theatre students in the aisles was having a great time and it left me with a smile on my face and a skip in my step!