With a multitude of musicals springing up all over the West End, you can pick your show according to your mood.
If you’re after a slick production with a decent story and some knockout singing, then head for Memphis where platinum selling Beverley Knight is an absolute powerhouse as Felicia, a black r&b singer “discovered” by passionately enthusiastic, white, would-be DJ Huey (Killian Donnelly) when he wanders, unwelcome, into an all-black Beale Street blues bar and decides he wants to bring “race” music to a white population..
As their careers blossom, so does the romance they are forced to keep secret in a southern state where segregation rules and violence threatens. This recast Broadway hit doesn’t delve too deeply into the issue of prejudice – though it doesn’t shirk from portraying just how nasty things could still get in 50’s Tennessee. But overall, this is one to enjoy – with strong choreography, likeable leads and feel-good songs rendered with panache.
DANCE ‘TIL DAWN has a plot too – a totally tongue in cheek film noir pastiche – but it’s really just an excuse for some fabulous dancing and a mellifluous crooner (Oliver Darley).
Former dance champions and Strictly professionals Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone have honed their moves in a partnership lasting almost two decades and they really deliver with super-slick, razor-sharp precision and fancy footwork– especially in a dramatic tango finale.
They don’t say a word as a 1940’s Hollywood starlet and her new love, but their bodies speak volumes – even when separated by prison bars.
The narrative is left in the safe hands of Teddy Kempner’s shabby private eye and Abbie Osmon’s not-as-ditzy-as-she-seems, squeaky-blonde femme fatale. And the dynamic ensemble proves that excellent dancers can come in all shapes and sizes in this sexy, sultry show with its throwaway comic lines.
MEMPHIS The Musical
Shaftesbury Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8DP
Tube- Tottenham Court Road
Until 28 March
£20.00- £67.50 + Premium Seats
DANCE ‘TIL DAWN
Aldwych, Aldwych WC2B 4DF
Tube- Covent Garden/ Charing Cross
Until 3rd January
£15- £59.50 + Premium seats