Review: Boogie Nights

Edinburgh Music Theatre. Jennifer Good as Debs and Magnus Sinding Halvold as Roddy in Boogie Nights. Pic: Comp
Edinburgh Music Theatre. Jennifer Good as Debs and Magnus Sinding Halvold as Roddy in Boogie Nights. Pic: Comp
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BOOGIE NIGHTS has a cracking songlist that, come Friday night’s sing-a-long performance, will have anyone up for a bit of a laugh belting out disco classics at the top of their lungs like they’re on stage at Studio 54 and Mick Jagger’s just walked in.

* * * *

Church Hill Theatre

While the rest of the Edinburgh Music Theatre’s run of the 70s jukebox musical may not be as rowdy as Friday promises to be, there’s certainly no less groove in the ensemble’s step.

Telling the cautionary tale of cheeky Northern chappie Roddy O’Neil, the musical’s storyline is basically a shoddy, wire coat hanger on which to hang a patchwork, technicolour dream coat of some of the era’s best popular music. Which means that although the musical performances and choreography are confident, engaging and well paced, the linking story lacks anything much to maintain momentum. The parts are poorly realised, particularly the women’s roles, leaving the cast with little to work with to pad out their characters.

This may not seem to be a big problem for an amateur cast. After all, it’s quite easy to work in stereotypes, but the lack of detail in a character makes it difficult for inexperienced actors to really grip onto the role and leaves them floundering on stage. Debut director Mike Davies has done a good job of pulling the production together, although cues and timings need to be tightened considerably and challenging his cast to really get into storytelling through body language and pausing for pathos would do much to help the tempo and energy.

Sarah Aitken’s choreography is assured, witty and shows the company off to it’s best. Working with a not inconsiderable number of bodies on stage, including a band, Davies and Aitken comfortably avoid making a busy stage look untidy.

Musical director Neil Metcalf manages the limitations of the Church Hill’s sound system very well, has his ensemble on key and the band co-operating pleasingly, if a tad too loudly – but then, nobody will be complaining about that on Friday.

• Run ends Saturday.