TITLE: Boogie Nights, Huddersfield Amateur Operatic Society
VENUE: Lawrence Batley Theatre
REVIEW: William Marshall
THE Seventies are supposed to be the Decade That Taste Forgot. Well, here’s your chance to remember them. And it’s quite a lot of fun.
The large first night audience certainly lapped it up and waved their glow sticks with gusto.
Boogie Nights (which is not, incidentally, a stage version of the raunchy US movie of that name) belongs to the genre of musical that stitches together large numbers of pop hits from a particular period or performer and constructs a plot around them. In this case we have a tale of young disco-goers circa 1977, with their love lives, dreams and disappointments.
This is, accordingly, the 1970s of spangly disco music, some soul and a few power ballads. Punk rock is absent – for which we must be thankful – and the fashions on display include flares, platform heels, jump suits, mini skirts, silver boots and Afro wigs.
The story revolves around Roddy – something of a Billy Liar figure – and his love triangle with childhood sweetheart Debs and disco temptress Lorraine. There is a little bit of grit in the storyline, but the show is mostly humorous. In fact, it is replete with authentic Seventies-style smut, redolent of Carry On and Confessions movies.
One of the strengths of the show is that it is set in this country, and therefore the cast – rather unusually for a stage musical –Š have the opportunity to act in their native Northern English accents. Somehow this adds to the energy and pace of the show.
And Kevin Moore’s production – choreographed by Adele Taylor and musically directed by Gordon Balmforth – moves along very slickly, with notably rapid, efficient scene changes.
Roddy is played by Scott Armstrong, a technically accomplished performer with a lot of stage charisma. He is matched in this by most of the other leads. There are some particularly strong singing performances from Anastasia Morton as Debs and Nicola Mara as Lorraine. When they combined on Enough is Enough the effect was almost operatic.
This is the sort of rock and pop-based show that amateur operatic societies are increasingly moving into. Boogie Nights is no masterpiece, but it provides a young, energetic cast with material that they can really get their teeth into.
The show continues until tomorrow, when there is also a matinee.