Review Round-up: Did Davies Get Critics Dancing?
The new musical takes its title from The Kinks\' 1983 song of the same name. However, Come Dancing, which is set in the Ilford Palais in the 1950s, is not a compilation of the band’s hits. It features new music and lyrics specially written for it by Davies, who has also conceived the story and co-written the book with Paul Sirett, with additional material by Terry Johnson.
Come Dancing is directed by Theatre Royal Stratford East artistic director Kerry Michael, who also directed reggae musical The Harder They Come, which was recently seen in the West End (See 1st Night Photos, 10 Jun 2008). Davies stars alongside Alasdair Harvey, Anthony Flaum, Bradley Clarkson, Delroy Atkinson, Gemma Salter, Katey Munroe, Katherine James, Martin George, Samantha Hughes, Stephen Lloyd and Wendy Mae Brown.
First night critical reaction was warm if not exultant. The “lovely little show” was “pleasant rather than electrifying”, but nonetheless had most critics appreciating its truthfulness of period and setting. Although some felt Davies revealed himself as “no natural actor”, some “wonderfully judged central performances” from the likes of Gemma Salter and Alasdair Harvey got most critics’ feet tapping, even if they weren’t quite dancing in the aisles.
- by Theo Bosanquet