Filled to the brim with classic songs from the 1940’s and 1950’s, this touring show has plenty to entertain audiences – not least the tap dancing skills of the performers.
From opening with the iconic ‘That’s Entertainment’ mingled with a touch of ‘Let Me Entertain You’ from the recently revived musical Gypsy, the show takes audiences on a journey through a selection of songs that were popular during the golden era of Hollywood and popular culture.
It is a light-hearted and entertaining evening for anyone with a passion for musicals or music of this era and a delicate balance heartfelt songs with some quirky and playful songs – such as the cockney knees up sequence that really saw the cast coming to life with the choreography and enjoying themselves.
For the most part production wise, it is kept relatively basic and allows the songs to do much of the work. The set although kept basic, allowed plenty of space for the wonderful and stylish choreography that Emma Rogers has created for this show. Of course, by keeping the style of That’s Entertainment so simple it can mean that songs (particularly the musicals) feel ever so slightly lost in the surroundings.
Special guest star Ruthie Henshall was a pleasure to watch, bringing personality and warmth to songs such as ‘All That Jazz’. But there was strong talent at other parts of the show too. Emma Kate Nelson and Sean Smith both brought character and charisma to their performances, meaning they appeared to be really involved with the characters they were inhabiting.
Slightly disappointingly, the music is recorded and not performed live, which means that it does tend to sound slightly echoey and rather distant, distracting slightly from the performers. It is particularly noticeable during the South Pacific section, which included a bizarre version of ‘I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair’.
Things are taken up to an even more glamorous notch in the second act, with brilliantly sharp renditions of ‘Get Happy’ and celebrating the sophistication of the Rat Pack with songs such as ‘Ain’t That A Kick’ and ‘That’s Life’.
While the song choices might seem disjointed, the show’s selection surprisingly succeeds in flowing well and being consistent in style and sophistication.
Is it successful in sweeping audiences away to a different era? Well yes it does – but the production could be taken up an extra notch to deliver something more visually pleasing to the audiences to really reflect the background of the songs better.
That’s Entertainment runs at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking until Saturday 16th July, before continuing on its UK tour. To book tickets for the New Victoria Theatre run visit ATG tickets.