If you love your musicals, and want to hear the most famous songs performed with great dance routines, you could do a lot worse than see Back to Broadway (Hawth Theatre, Friday, September 19).
The troupe of eight - led by the exuberant Gina Price and Aston Dobson - continued their UK tour at the Hawth and they had the audience - especially one lady who sat just in front of me - singing and dancing from the moment Dancin’ Fool from Copacabana was performed.
Back to Broadway brings you hits from the musicals with narration from Tupele Dorgu (last seen at the Hawth in Chicago) to give you details about each show.
It starts off with Copacabana and Smokey Joe’s Cafe before moving swiftly on to Lord Lloyd-Webber classics. Phantom of the Opera (not my favourite musical) was first up with Masquerade, All I ask of You and Music of the Night given the Back to Broadway treatment. The latter gave Aston the chance to prove his acting chops.
Sometimes the songs were a little overacted but with the minimalistic staging it needed it.
The two songs to steal the show in the first half were I Feel Pretty from West Side Story which saw Rachel Allard shine and Defying Gravity from the excellent Wicked performed by Gina. But I was left a little wanting and hoped the second half was going to deliver more.
And I was not disappointed - Only You, Pumping Iron and Light at the End of the Tunnel from Starlight Express were performed brilliantly with suitably outrageous costumes.
Aston particularly had great fun with Pumping Iron.
The tone changed when the show moved to the more serious Miss Saigon and that was reflected in Kathy Brooke and Gina’s understated version of I Still Believe - but it was Eddie Kaziro who may have just have stolen the whole show with his moving and passionate rendition of Bui-doi.
Kathy Brooke then got to have some fun with All That Jazz from Chicago and she was joined by Kayleigh Ross in a great dance routine for Nowadays.
The final few songs was where the crowd started to really get going with Hairspray, Footloose, Mamma Mia and Saturday Night Fever all getting the treatment.
On the whole Back to Broadway is a mixed bag, but I am not going to deny I had an entertaining night. Great fun with some moments of magic