The New Alexandra Theatre’s annual stage experience production for 2018 is Boogie Nights. The stage experience showcases the talent of West Midlands young performers supported by a professional creative team, in a professional theatre setting.
Written by Jon Conway, Boogie Nights opened in the West End in 1998 and closed in January 1999.
This “Juke Box” musical of classic disco hits set in the 1970s, tells the story of the long-term relationship of Debs and Roddy and their best friends Terry and Trish, who are regular visitors at the local disco “Boogie Nights”.
The Boogie Nights storyline is thin and feels dated for 2018. However story line aside, the star of this production is the fantastic disco soundtrack of a generation. This soundtrack is brought to life by a very talented group of young people.
Director and choreographer Pollyann Tanner has created a piece of theatre that captures the era perfectly. The dance routines, full of classic, funky disco movements, are delivered with energy, enthusiasm and precision by this cast of very talented young performers. Dance captains Nicholas Jones and Olivia Wickes delivered standout performances, holding our attention each time they were on stage.
The set and costumes transport the viewer into a typical 1970s disco; whilst the familiar songs of the decade are delivered with professionalism by the seven-piece orchestra under the direction of Chris Newton.
This is a large cast of 94 performers, of various ages, who worked well together delivering impressive vocals in the ensemble numbers.
We loved the audience interaction as the performers infected the audience with disco fever.
Elliot Gooch gives a superb performance as selfish, arrogant, self-centred Roddy; using his accomplished acting skills to create a character that we didn’t like but who appeared to soften slightly as the story reached its conclusion. We particularly enjoyed Gooch’s delivery of the number Sorry seems to be the hardest word.
Liam Huband gave a standout performance as Roddy’s Elvis obsessed dad Eamon. His rendition of Always on my mind was sung with tenderness and emotion.
Dean played by Jonah Sercombe and Terry played by Thomas Parkinson are the best friends of Roddy. All three together oozed charisma on stage. Jonah has a wonderful vocal ability and Thomas gave a brilliant comedic performance.
It was a pleasure to watch the wonderful chemistry between Melissa Huband as Trish and Isabella Kibble as Debs. They delivered excellent performances both together and individually.
Gibsa Bah as brutish Spencer, had excellent stage presence and energy. Gibsa commanded the stage and the audience with his excellent acting ability.
Grace Williams gave an outstanding performance as Lorraine, the club singer and down trodden girlfriend of club owner Spencer. Williams has a superb voice which suited the classic disco catalogue of songs in this production. We particularly enjoyed her rendition of the classic Donna Summer number Last Dance, sung as a duet with Isabelle Kibble (Debs).
We had a great evening dancing along to disco classics and we have no doubt that we will be seeing this fantastic cast on professional stages in the not so distant future.
MT & DT
We say: “The Stage Experience 2018 production of Boogie Nights grooves straight into the heart with an exceptional cast and an energetic production!”