One word can describe the production of Saturday Night Fever, and that’s disco-tastic. The musical revival is energetic, bursting with enthusiasm from the musicians and actors both that echoes the original 1978 film.
The stage is laid out brilliantly, made so the cast and musicians can flawlessly move out and interact with each other. The few slight stumbles with the music can easily be attributed to first night jitters; same can be said for the few stuttered lines. I can imagine by the end of Saturday Night Fever’s run though it would be hard to spot a single mistake.
Mike Snell fills the role of Tony Manero, made iconic by Travolta in the original 1979 film. Snell certainly fits the criteria of the young Italian man; his dance moves are slick and his ego is large. However, Snell lacks the somewhat wide-eyed charisma that Travolta brought to the role, instead Tony comes off as uncomfortably sleazy and unsympathetic. This was until we got to the final ten minutes of the play and Snell was able to really shine through, bringing a new depth to the character and creating that air of sympathy that was so needed.
Elise Brennan and Sheridan Anderson portray the parts of Tony’s female acquaintances, Annette and Stephanie. Brennan certainly brought the audience to thundering applause after her first solo song, her enthusiasm through song bringing a new element to a character that was somewhat bland and boring.
Anderson, in comparison, feels over the top as Stephanie, like a child pretending to play grownup. Which, certainly does somewhat echo the character of Stephanie Mangano and her need to belong in Manhattan. Anderson’s portrayal feels a touch too dramatic, her character unlikeable to the audience.
Tony’s gang in comparison are exceptional. Joseph Spanti as Double J, and Duane McGregor as Joey is the perfect backdrop that encourages Tony’s poor behaviour. Dean Schulz as Bobby was also superb, creating possibly the only character that I could feel any sympathy for in the production.
Despite any criticisms of any of the actors involved, nothing but praise can be given for their amazing dance moves. Choreographer Luke Alleva has a lot to be proud of given the quite spectacular moves that the cast was able to complete.
I would heartily recommend Saturday Night Fever for anyone that thinks fondly of the 1977 film, or to anyone that has a penchant for disco balls and flares. The production is entertaining and artfully put together.
Saturday Night Fever runs from 11th – 28th February at Chapel off Chapel, tickets can be purchased at chapeloffchapel.com.au