The Concept: A reimagining of the original stage version of Copacabana, this production is on its first run in the UK.
A story within a story, with song and dance numbers a plenty. Stephen dreams of writing a hit musical set in a place where music and passion were always in fashion, as his wife is getting ready to celebrate their anniversary Stephen slips deep into his imagination and becomes his own leading man, Tony Starr. Working at the legendary night club the Copacabana, Tony and cigarette girl Gladys meet Lola, a fresh faced farm girl just arrived in the city and looking to be a star. They convince the clubs owner Sam Silver to give Lola an audition, a lucky break she may come to regret.The Successes: The cast including Jon Lee as Tony Starr, Richard Grieve as Sam Silver and Jennifer Harding as Lola, bring a wealth of stage and screen experience with them. The players all gave confident performances, using the limited stage space and the simplistic set to great effect. The costumes worn by the Copa and Tropicana girls were spectacular, dripping in rich plumes and shimmering with delicate beading. The dance routines and musical numbers kept the pace nicely and the finale was reminiscent of a real Las Vegas cabaret show with great swathes of the audience both clapping and tapping their feet or in the aisles dancing.
The Setbacks: Whilst the most was made of the limited set, the constant manoeuvring of two staircases to indicate scene changes and represent different rooms, theatres and even countries, sometimes appeared a little clumsy, additionally in the early audition scene an upright piano was twirled about so frequently it was almost a blur, the application of the set pieces foot breaks became almost a pacing beat in the back ground. During the first half some of the chorus girls microphones weren’t working properly however this didn’t detract from the overall performance. Sadly the second half was suspended after the first number due to a technical issue, fortunately it was quickly rectified and the show resumed. It was testament to the performers that despite the hitch once they were back on stage it was a flawless second half.
Final Thoughts: An extremely enjoyable musical, decent pacing throughout with a musical finale worthy of any west end stage. You’ll be humming away to yourself long after you leave the theatre. Copacabana is on at the Buxton Opera House until October 18th.
Would the ladies like to be Copa girls? Yes they would.
- Lady Sky