Nov 09

Stepping Out: Review

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Stepping Out


In rehearsals for Stepping Out










At Chichester Festival Theatre until 19 November (Booking: 01243 781312; www.cft.org.uk)

At the Vaudeville Theatre, London, 1 March – 17 June 2017 (Booking: www.nimaxtheatres.com)

Directed by Maria Friedman

Cast: Amanda Holden, Angela Griffin, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Tamzin Outhwaite, Nicola Stephenson, Judith Barker, Rose Keegan, Sandra Marvin, Jessica-Alice Mccluskey, Dominic Rowan, Janet Behan, Emma Hook, Katie Verner and Nick Warnford

A weekly tap dancing class in a community hall is the setting for a story that follows the lives of a group of ladies and a solitary man. Like many adult education classes, all human life is here.

Boasting a cast that includes several popular faces from television, Tracy-Ann Oberman is on superb form as wise-cracking Maxine. Glamorous in a wardrobe of nearly new and knock-off, the more-front-than-Brighton exterior conceals a tender and vulnerable heart. Tamzin Outhwaite as is also touching in her role class teacher Mavis. With her dreams of being a dancer dramatically reconfigured and an unhappy relationship to cope with, teaching is both her salvation and a constant needling reminder that she never quite made it. Amanda Holden as posh but tactless neat freak Vera delivers some of the production’s funniest moments, admitting only towards the end that her perfect life isn’t quite so perfect after all.

Everyone, in fact, has a secret to reveal, but the audience is short changed; what the final outcome is for each of the characters is anyone’s guess. Pace, too, is a frustration. A lethargic beginning gives way to a gentle potter before coming to a rather abrupt and inconclusive ending.

But the dialogue is sharp enough, the performances are (largely) accomplished and the familiar theme of trying to get along with people with whom one has little in common will surely resonate. Touring prior to the West End next year, hopefully the tempo will pick up and settle along the way. Then, no doubt, Stepping Out will be packing ‘em in.