As is obvious from the huge amount of jukebox musicals that are doing the rounds at the moment, nostalgia is back in fashion. Many of the latest shows are concentrating on the music of the 50s and 60s but Dancing Queen is firmly placed in the decade of sequins and Spandex – the 70s.
The main musical focus is the music of Abba and, sadly topical at this time, the music of the Bee Gees, but the show covers everything from Motown through Glam Rock and on to the pure Disco sound and the extremely energetic cast work incredibly hard to ensure that they deliver faithful reproductions of the original hits.
There are four lead singers, two boys and two girls, and all have very good but also differing voices. Aston Dobson has a rock based voice which comes over particularly well at the beginning of Act Two with his versions of “Crazy Horses” by The Osmonds and “20th Century Boy” by T-Rex. Simon Neil Bulley has the gentler, more lyrical, voice of the two and he excels at performing the slower numbers.
Jennifer Harding and Jessica Parker are the leading ladies and sing very well, whether together or in their solo performances. Their harmonies are perfect and their love for the songs, and enjoyment at being able to perform them, is very obvious. Both women are also very accomplished dancers and are just as happy when they are leading the large cast in the ensemble pieces.
The six boys and ten girls who complete the cast all work tirelessly to ensure that the show runs smoothly. With total costume changes at the end of every medley the dressing rooms must end up looking like an explosion in a jumble sale, as those changes are all performed at breakneck speed but, having said that, at no point did anyone miss a cue and the whole show is stage managed perfectly.
The production was very well received by the audience who, very much, enjoyed the mixture of great music, dazzling costumes and even a little comedy along the way. The comic highlights of the evening being the appearance of five of the boys dressed authentically, although in pure white, as the Village People in their “YMCA” outfits, only to be trumped by the sixth boy bursting onto the stage wearing silver sequined hot pants and roller skates.
The combination of their hit “In the Navy” with a Riverdance style dance routine also works very well, as does the appearance of Richard Leavey dressed in full sequined drag and showing off some tremendously high kicks – even in high heels!
The show ends with the, almost obligatory, medley of the best bits, accompanied by much dancing in the aisles from an audience who loved every second of this tremendously enjoyable night of nostalgia.