Spa Theatre Scarborough
Running until September 8th
Producer: Tony Peers Director: Alan Harding
Reviewer: Mark Ritchie
With musical arrangements this year from the brilliant Rick Coates, direction from the great Alan Harding and choreography from the celebrated Sharon Harding, this show was a sure-fire hit on an opening night, which very nearly attracted a full-house.
Elaine Hulme, on behalf of Tony Peers Ltd, has added so much energy and verve to this year’s Razzle Dazzle show and everyone was on their opening night A-Game. This Victorian music hall style theatre, within the Spa complex at Scarborough, boasts a smallish stage with quite a rake on it. The set is simple but effective and despite the limitations of space and most of the stage entry/exits being stage left, this whole confection of music and dance was performed superbly. Never once did the stage look cluttered or overly busy in terms of the choreographed traffic.
The seven strong vocal and dance ensemble is led by the smooth and charismatic Michael Pellman, who took the eye and no doubt the collective appreciative ear of the very large opening night audience. This is a very young and vibrant cast, who should keep up the pace until the show closes in September.
Female singers and dancers Lauren Lucas, Zoe Wright and Shauna Olley all perform at the very top of their game. I recognised the eye-catching Ms Olley from seeing her at sea in another production. Special credit should go to Beth Gourlay who stepped in with just a ridiculously short space of time in which to learn this show, after the late-withdrawal of an original cast member.
Guest comedians add an agreeable variation in pace to such a dance-based show and Yorkshire funny-man Joey Howard was at his comedy best on the opening night show. Mr Howard seemed to overrun during his second half performance, but a few snips here and there will soon sort that small factor out during the remainder of his performances.
I have never seen a dog in a variety theatre audience, but this was a working animal who was introduced to me by his owner during the interval. This was a cast so apparently eager to please that I’m sure if requested, they may even have taken a stab at performing How Much is That Doggie in the Window, in honour of their esteemed canine visitor, who seemed to be taking a trip to the theatre very much in her quadruped stride.
On a personal note, it was a pleasure to see and spend time with the man himself Tony Peers, who is back to robust health and in the pink, after giving all of us who care about him quite a fright recently. Razzle Dazzle is a triumph and the business advance bookings, I was reliably informed, have gone through the roof.