Fred Astaire is one of the all-time greats, a man who could turn his hand to every facet of the business known as show: dancing, singing, acting, presenting and choreography. It is fitting therefore that this tribute show should feature each of these elements in a glittery celebration of his life.
David Page is the presenter for the night, the show framing itself around the loose idea of a live radio show broadcast. Page is a multi-talented performer, singing and dancing his way into the hands of the audience who lap up the cheeky-chappie routine. However, the “radio broadcast” is unnecessary, distracting form the talented performers who can hold their own without the pretence.
And none can hold their own more than stars of the show, Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara (stars of Strictly Come Dancing), who twirl and waltz their way round the stage with an ease and professionalism that carries them from one impressive number to the next, each dance more mesmerising and spectacular than the last.
Supporting cast and live band are equally impressive, Alastair Crosswell and Charlie Bruce (So You Think You Can Dance? series one winner) deserving special mention for a memorable performance of Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off and Page and fellow singer, Miranda Wilford, entertaining the crowd with a comedic number made famous by Astaire and co-star, Judy Garland: A Couple of Swells.
But it’s not just the dancing and music which are impressive. Astaire and his co-stars were also well known for their unique costume choices and the glitz and glamour are replicated by the wardrobe department of this stage show helping to take the audience back to those classic movies where Astaire went from star to legend. And further enhancing this throwback to a golden era of dance are the eye-opening interviews with stars and family connected to Astaire.
It is a fitting tribute which warms up as the show goes on and can’t fail to impress Astaire fans – they just need to lose the radio show gimmick.