Archive for November, 2012

A review of ‘Stepping Out’ presented by Viva Theatre Company at The Brook, Soham

November 13, 2012

Viva Theatre Company’s production of Richard Harris’s ‘Stepping Out’ was a most welcome and entertaining diversion from our usual wintry afflictions. From the start the stage came alive, not necessarily from the tap dancing, but from the exuberance of the tap dance enthusiasts gathered for their weekly class under the directorship of Mavis (played by Mary Barnes) accompanied by the prickly pianist Mrs Fraser (Helen Hawes). As the play progressed, the characters blossomed, tensions developed, and soon we were thoroughly involved in their diverse lives and difficulties.

The script was cleverly designed and we gradually learned more about the characters and we could easily relate to the shenanigans that went on in this group of keen amateurs. Delightful one-liners were expertly timed to produce streams of laughter from the audience. Our favourite group members were all there: – The ‘superior than thou’ Vera (Esther Hiller) who managed to rile everyone with her tactless questions, comments and actions. Who else would say to the struggling plump dancer on benefits (Sylvia played by Kirsten Martin) “I used to be fat once.”?

One of the most captivating characters was Maxine (Sarah Dowd Crosby) who held the group together and soon brought Vera down to size by suggesting she take her to buy second-hand clothes. Dorothy (Tracey Summers) and her bike, the shy down-trodden Andy (Lesley Wood), the highly entertaining Rose (Radha Cardwell), the brave sole male in the troupe Geoffrey (Scott Robertson) and two Sugar Plum Fairies (Claudia Stein-Carr and Sue Lord) completed the dancers.

The success of this production came from a sense of team cohesion and realistic dialogue and responses that were no doubt encouraged and developed by the Director Annie Cook. The production was also assisted by Stage Manager David Moat, Choreographer Lizzie Bendall and Followspot Operator Lou Murray. This was indeed a wonderful show. I eagerly await the next Viva production.