Wait for Me – Dance-Musical
Wait For Me is a new musical/dance production created by Sam Cassidy. Originally intended as a stage show, it has been re-imagined as a digital production post-Covid, with the four cast members in a bubble together to allow for close work. Finalist on The Greatest Dancer Ainsley Ricketts is the director and choreographer, as well as one of the dancers.
The story follows two angels, who dance together happily in heaven for millennia until they are split up and entrusted with half a soul each. In order to resume their joyous dance, they must bring the two halves back together. Each is given a mortal to watch over and must ensure that they come together as one with love that runs smoothly. Which, of course, it doesn’t always.
Ricketts and his angelic partner, played by Clarice Lanta-Lilly, engage in movingly tender duets, resting their heads on each other’s shoulders and fluttering their wings with joy and affection. Ricketts’ choreography makes the most of Lanta-Lilly’s beautiful extensions and exquisite suppleness. Jack and Emma are the mortals for whose fate the angels are responsible. Played by real-life couple Jaih Betote and Chrissy Brookes, their chemistry is obvious. Brookes is lithe and graceful; Betote mixes hip hop, contemporary and balletic moves with jaw-dropping athleticism. The physical rules of mere mortals don’t seem to apply to him, and he laughs in the face of gravity. He is a passionate leading man, combining power and romance.
The performance is filmed at the abandoned Collins Music Hall in Islington, which once hosted the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Tommy Cooper, but was gutted by a fire in 1958. The result perfectly suits the ethereal atmosphere of Wait for Me, complemented by Matthew Carnazza’s lighting design, which creates a swooning other-worldly mood, combining delicacy and texture for a sumptuous look. Cinematographer Nick Ross’s work is slick and enhancing.
Nonetheless, the production is not perfect. The piano-led score and choreography tell the story so beautifully that the ballads with lyrics feel unnecessary. As powerful as singers Bluey Robinson and Eloise Davies are, their involvement feels like overkill, and borders on cheesiness when the dancers mime. The “meet cute” is a little on the nose, and jars crudely with the overall romantic feel: comedy is tricky to balance. However, the story, mood and dancing are memorable, and create something special.
Wait for Me is available to livestream here.