Fans of drum machines and camp could find their desires satisfied in
this loose re-setting of Othello in the infamous 70s club
Studio 54. There’s jealousy, betrayal and drugs all over the dance
floor before the show’s inevitable climax. The sexy young company give
it their all but unfortunately it takes more than male biceps and
female buttocks gyrating to disco beats to make a hit as this
box-ticking musical disappointingly demonstrates.
Pastiche quickly becomes rip-off. I identified “I Need a Hero” and
“Summer Night City” amongst the songs, and the repeated use of Arlene
Phillips’ choreography from Saturday Night Fever becomes
trying. The lyrics come straight from the cliché thesaurus (there’s
lots of talk of mountains, valleys and promised lands) while the
script goes for soap opera bathos (“for the first time I love me and
it’s because of you”).
James Cohen plays the lead, Jake, with terrific charisma and Luke
Baker’s handsome Cassio also stands out amongst this motley crew of
vain misfits. At one point someone says “don’t go projecting your
insecurities on to me, you jealous fuck”. Quite.