I was thoroughly excited to head back to the glitz and glamour of the 1930s at the Churchill Theatre this week when I went to see Puttin’ on the Ritz. The touring show is a collection of songs from classic musical theatre shows, brought to life by professional singers and dancers plus an array of celebrity performers. At the Churchill we were lucky to have Strictly stars Robin Windsor and Anya Garnis along with Ray Quinn.
It was quite a while before we saw the stars but the singers and dancers kept us well entertained before then. The singers worked very well together as a group with occasional solos, each perfectly suited to each singer’s vocal strengths. I wasn’t a fan of the introductions to each song, which felt a little forced and scripted. I would have preferred seamlessly linking the songs with no words but it was a minor thing.
Ray Quinn impressed with a few choice numbers, although sometimes I struggled to hear his words through lack of enunciation. He is quite the performer interjected the songs with some smooth moves which certainly seemed to impress the female members of the audience.
For me Robin and Anya stole the show. You cannot fault the pair – the level of performance was in a league of its own with impressive routines and tricks. Their rumba to a version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow was stunningly beautiful, including this clever ‘no hands’ lift.
The resident dancers were just outstanding – really slick and moving perfectly as a team as well as couples. The Cotton Club segment in the second act was particularly impressive put together with true choreographic flair. The Maple Leaf Rag also got a pretty big cheer after a complicated routine.
The real showstopper was the finale. I Got Rhythm is an absolute favourite of Gershwin’s and even Ray Quinn showed off some spectacular tapping skills with the rest of the dancers.
It’s a shame that the celebs change with each stop on the tour as I can imagine each show has a different feel to it with a different cast. Saying that the celebs don’t own the show – they are a fabulous addition but the resident performers have their own flair and really boost the production. It’s a feel good show with spectacular numbers and costumes to match. The evening has a real touch of class and you can’t fail to enjoy sinking back to a smoother time of magic and elegance.
Puttin’ on the Ritz is playing at the Churchill Theatre until Saturday 19th September then continues to tour the UK. To check dates, venues and celebrities visit the website.