That’s Entertainment at New Wimbledon TheatreCultureTheatre
Billed as a “song and dance extravaganza” and largely encompassing the most glamorous and golden of the Hollywood and Broadway musical eras, That’s Entertainment is overall a light, fun evening of feathers, glitz, sparkles and pearls. The sequin budget alone is, no doubt, something to behold.
The all-singing, all-dancing, all-sparkling production takes the audience on a whirlwind trip through the 40s and 50s including tributes to the Rat Pack; a celebration of Rodgers and Hammerstein; nods to George and Ira Gershwin; and even an old-fashioned Cockney knees-up with requisite audience sing-a-long. Special guest star Jonathan Ansell, of operatic boyband G4-fame, at times feels a little less in keeping with the theme – most notably with a solo performance of 80s hit Barcelona, famously a duet between the late Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Cabellé – but his audience fan-base are appreciative, nonetheless.
In encompassing so many timeless old favourites, a certain amount of “playing them like they used to” is to be expected and arguably crucial in transporting the audience back to a time that the majority experienced first-hand. That’s Entertainment slightly mis-steps in this sometimes (although only just), and some creative choices – coupled with a reduced cast on a large stage – means it slightly struggles at times to retain quite enough authenticity.
Male leads Sean Smith (who may be more familiar to some as half of the X Factor brother and sister duo, Same Difference) and Simon Schofield deliver the best vocal performances of the show, and the charismatic headline quartet, completed by Loula Geater and Emma Kate Nelson, interact with a warmth and humour that often pulls the evening back from the brink of mawkish. However, it is Emma Rogers’ choreography and the tap routines, in particular, which steal the show. Encompassing the nuances of different styles throughout the evening (the raucous style of Gene Kelly and the refined stylings of Fred Astaire, for example), the extended dance break from the talented ensemble in the closing number, I Got Rhythm, is the standout moment of the night.
On the whole, That’s Entertainment is a gentle, glitzy, feel-good watch with sing-a-long moments and will appeal to most who remember the “good old days” of Hollywood.
That’s Entertainment is at New Wimbledon Theatre from Tuesday 16th until Saturday 20th August 2016, for further information or to book visit here.