Disaster! – A 70’s Disaster Movie Musical
DISASTER!, the Broadway musical comedy spoof of star-studded 1970s jeopardy movies like The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and Airport, premiered in London for two glittering gala concert charity performances to raise funds for The Make a Difference Trust. If you grew up in the 1970’s you’ll be very familiar with the raft of Disaster movies that were around at that time. This along with a stellar Broadway and West End cast and a slew of hits of that time, meant that I barely stopped grinning the whole of the evening!
It’s 1979 and New York’s hottest A-listers are lining up for the opening of a floating casino and discotheque. But what begins as a night of boogie fever quickly changes to panic as the ship succumbs to multiple disasters, such as earthquakes, tidal waves and infernos. As the night turns into day, everyone struggles to survive and, quite possibly, repair the love they’ve lost…or at least escape the killer rats! Set in the wildest decade ever, DISASTER! is packed with unforgettable 70s dance floor hits including “I Will Survive”, “Knock On Wood,” “Hooked On A Feeling,” “Sky High,” “I Am Woman” and “Hot Stuff”.
With brilliant vocals and comic timing from this supreme cast its hard not to mention all of the main characters. However just a few which caught my eye – Simon Lipkin as love-rat Tony, Oliver Tompsett (Chad), Sally Ann Triplett (Shirley), Sandra Marvin (Levora) who has a sensational voice which absolutely delighted me, and Jodie Jacobs (Jackie).
Reprising their Broadway roles as the Professor and Sister were Seth Rudetsky (Co-Writer) and Jennifer Simard. It’s not hard to see why Simard was Tony nominated for her role on Broadway. Her dour demeanour, comic timing and facial expressions had the audience in stitches. So much was said, at times, without even a whisper being heard.
There were some scenes stolen by the youngest member of the cast Bradley Riches who played twins Ben/Lisa. My goodness he is certainly going to take the theatre world by storm, take note my friends of the name.
This was a gala to raise money for MAD trust who have been raising funds for HIV/AIDS for over 25 years. There are over 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK. For the MAD Trust, raising awareness and education, particularly for young people, is key to a better understanding of HIV.
Photo Credit Jamie Scott-Smith
Back to the show, as it was announced, this was supposed to be a sung through gala concert on book, but it ended up being a mini full-on Broadway musical with an orchestra, innovative props and scenery and some memory prompting costumes. Thank goodness for writers Seth Rudesky and Jack Plotnick, who certainly know what makes for a fun show.
In summary it is not a deep thinking, thought-provoking show. Its a riotous, trip down memory lane where platforms were the footwear of choice and it is about having fun! Sometimes we need a show just like that to remind us how to laugh, relish the cheese and enjoy. Any show that starts with ‘The Hustle’ is fine by me. I’d love to see a West End run it was a ridiculously good evening of entertainment!