Paul Johnson | 04 Oct 2011 01:34am
Richard Harris’s stalwart favorite ‘Stepping Out’ has never lost it’s popularity with audiences and amateur performers since it was first produced at the Leatherhead theatre in 1984. An intrepid troop of women and one bashfully shy man; Geoffrey (Brian Capron) attend Mavis Turner’s (Lucy Williamson) weekly adult tap dancing class. Each from differing backgrounds and classes they each unite in the desire to take some time out from their contrasting lives “do something for themselves”. The drama unfolds as Mavis reveals that they will be “doing the tap number” at a local charity event, pushing the tappers relationship with each other to breaking point and where the audience glimpse each characters underlying issues. By turns an raucous comedy – the appalling tap number as the group struggle to learn a complicated routine involving hats and sticks – to deep poignancy and pathos, seen most clearly in Andy’s (Johanne Murdock) stunted relationship with Geoffrey. Celebrating Stepping Out’s 25th anniversary with a new tour of the show, the cast included some star names to drag in the punters (not that I think Stepping Out needs any extra help as it will always be a winner) notably Jessie (“You’re not my mother”… “YES I AM!”) Wallace from Eastenders fame, Coronation Street’s Brian Capron and Lawrence Olivier award nominee Rosemary Ashe. Capron and Ashe both impressed as the hapless Geoffrey and the battleaxe Mrs Frazer. Although billed as stars both were ensemble parts and Capron and Ashe obviously relished the chance to pull up their acting socks and really get stuck in. Never a line not deconstructed or a laugh opportunity wasted. Great fun. Jessie Wallace did a great job as Sylvia and had obviously bagged herself the best role which played to her strengths. She’s a tiny little thing and although she had been given some big false boobs she couldn’t really convince as the overweight Sylvia. The real stand-out performances for me were from Wendy Mae Brown as the warmhearted Rose and Katie Kerr as the enthusitatic but awkward Lynn. Brown brought a beautiful and believable naturalism to the character – as did Kerr with Lynn, bringing also a mesmerizing stillness into the part. Susie Fenwick disappointed as the insensitive Vera – a woman that puts on an irritating ‘front’ to mask what’s underneath – Fenwick never got under the skin of the character though, so all we got was ‘front’ and no depth. Karen Traynor who only looked in her twenties took on the role of Dorothy, although I think the character should be played much older. Traynor has obviously got into the habit of putting on an ‘actor’s voice’ which became increasingly annoying as the evening progressed. It’s a shame because if she had stopped ‘acting’ so much hers would have been one of the most interesting characters on stage.
- : admin
- : 27/10/2009