Review: Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever (Pic: Pamela Raith)
Saturday Night Fever (Pic: Pamela Raith)

Back in the post-punk days as the 1970’s was drawing to a close a new craze took the young people by storm.

The world of disco transformed nightclubs, fashion, music and dance and this was ably exploited in the movie Saturday Night Fever, produced by Robert Stigwood with music by The Bee Gees. Not that the Gibb Brothers initially bought much into it but they did share the same management company RSO and wrote five songs for the soundtrack.

They added two which were already released and arguably they were the best as Jive Talkin’ and You Should Be Dancing were already floor fillers.

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More Than A Woman appears twice sung by them plus Tavares and The Trammps Disco Inferno sums up all that was glorious about the disco days.

Made as a teaser for Grease John Travolta was already a TV star when he took the role.

Nik Cohn wrote the movie soundtrack and Robert Stigwood himself with Bill Oakes adapted the story for the stage with spectacular success. The UK tour is directed by Bill Kenwright and even this has evolved as we now have a live Bee Gees tribute on stage for live interpretations of the songs.

Edward Handoll takes the falsetto vocals with Alastair Hill and Matt Faull harmonising. These guys were terrific on their own overshadowing the numbers sung by the lead characters. In a non stop colourful first half we open with Stayin’ Alive, feel the Night Fever and close with You Should Be Dancing. I honestly wondered what could be left for the post interval climax. The fashions are great as the boys all have the flares and the ladies mix all the other trends of the day.

There are many great dancing moments especially from our dance hero Tony Manero played by Richard Winsor. He breathlessly dances throughout in the signature moves we came along to see and all in unison with the ensemble. His well toned body was well appreciated by the ladies in the house especially when he stripped to get into the iconic white three-piece suit for the dance competition.

Kate Parr (Stephanie) is the main dance partner and Anna Camplin plays Annette with some more good dance moves.

The set moves from the the Brooklyn Bridge to Tony’s kitchen, he paint store to the 2001 Odyssey club with mirrored backdrop, illuminated floor (– the movie? – and mirror balls to send sparkles all across the mighty Playhouse Theatre.

By the time the final dance mix was on the whole house was on their feet reliving their Saturday nights – they had caught the fever.

Edinburgh Playhouse until October 27.