WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE: Upstairs At The Gatehouse
WHEN: 18/8, runs to 19/8
The words experimental Steps jukebox musical may be enough to strike fear into the heart of the average theatregoer but 5,6,7,8 is definitely more comedy than, ahem, Tragedy.
- Read on for reasons including why this fine show deserves a longer run in a bigger venue
We’re big Steps fans and what we most loved about this show, and weren’t expecting, was how faithfully recreated and how well executed each dance routine accompanying all those hits would be.
Special mention to George Lester, who ramped up the Steps camp to giant strides, and Natalie Lester (we’re guessing no relation, although who knows?) who provided the physical comedy while utterly convincing in the dance department.
Writer, director and producer Shaun Kitchener is a journalist who also writes for Hollyoaks and the script was tongue-in-cheek funny and office-based.
We can’t remember any of the names of the characters, and couldn’t find a programme to buy, but there are three love stories on the go and not all of them are heterosexual.
Our favourite Steps songs are the love-gone-wrong ones (One For Sorrow, Better Best Forgotten and Deeper Shade Of Blue work especially well) and we loved how Tragedy got the perfect tee-up and then fine lead Christopher Cohen explained why we wouldn’t be hearing it.
A strength of the script was how even the minor character played superbly by Shalana Serafina was given her own recurring joke.
The quality of the singing was variable but at just 65 minutes we would have quite happily had an interval and sat through the whole romp again.
The reputation of Upstairs at the Gatehouse of bringing quality new musicals to a welcoming home is well-deserved but we’d love to see this again in a bigger venue on a longer run. Love’s, truly, got a hold of our hearts.