WORTH A LOOK?: ***
WHERE? London Coliseum RUNTIME: 2 hours and 30 minutes (with 20-minute interval)
WHEN? 27/6/19 (matinee), opened 27/6, booking to 31/8/2019
Summer is most definitely with us and this musical of the lives of Gloria and Emilio Estefan featuring their Miami Sound Machine hits might struggle in any other climate.
- Read on for reasons including how the audience were less on their feet than on their seats
The best thing about On Your Feet then is the back catalogue of Cuban fusion pop music from the 80s and 90s which boasts such joyous hits as the title track, Dr Beat, Turn The Beat Around, Don’t Wanna Lose You, 1-2-3, Rhythm Is Gonna Get You and Conga.
This is a jukebox musical and, if you’re here for live versions of some of these classics performed by a tight band and intertwined with the story of the Estefans’ Cuban roots and their rise to fame, then you’ll go home happy.
If the rhythm really is going to get you, we’d recommend seats in the stalls because members of the cast come out in to the audience at the close of the 1st act to pluck some unsuspecting members of the audience into their arms for a little impromptu dance.
We would’ve liked to have seen more of Madalena Alberto as Gloria’s mother whose own story of thwarted ambition had more of a sense of drama than the rather pedestrian tale of crossover success her daughter enjoyed by playing every gig in town.
The use of the real-life bus crash in this show which threatened Estefan’s life as well as career seemed, for us, ill-judged.
We especially enjoyed the performances of Karen Mann’s game Consuela and Christie Prades as the lead but the dramatisation seemed so thin that it was only really during the impressive song and dance numbers that things fell into place.
Our performance was a midweek matinee and there did seem to be a lot of middle class middle-aged Strictly Come Dancing fans in the audience who, despite the cast’s rather desperate urgings, seemed happy to be on their seats rather than their feet.
We left admiring the enterprise of the Estefans in shoehorning their best songs into this vehicle but couldn’t recommend this a top West End night out especially when the sun is blazing like a furnace across the city.