REVIEW: Save The Last Dance For Me

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Save The Last Dance For Me – King’s Lynn Corn Exchange

The audience was up and dancing in the aisles on the first night of Save The Last Dance For Me as it began a five-night visit to the Corn Exchange last night.

The show features the music of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, two great American rock and roll songwriters, so sit back and enjoy many familiar tunes, a number of which were made famous by Elvis Presley.

These include Viva Las Vegas, Little Sister, His Latest Flame, Suspicion. But there are plenty of others, Sweets For My Sweet, such as Teenager In Love, Please Mr Postman, Can’t Get Used To Losing You, Way Down Yonder In New Orleans, and, of course, Save The Last Dance Me.

The show itself is remarkable for being set in East Anglia (can’t remember many of those) in that it takes place around the holiday resort of Lowestoft in 1963.

Sisters Jennifer (X-Factor’s Lola Saunders) and Marie (Elizabeth Carter) escape their over-protective parents in Luton and hook up with the local Yanks based on an airbase just out of town.

These include Milton (Blue’s Antony Costa) and a black airman Curtis (Wayne Robinson) who are in a band (imaginatively called The Airman) laying down Pomus and Shuman’s finest compositions in the mess.

Curtis and the 17-year-old Marie are immediately drawn to each other. But the course of true love never runs smooth ... particularly when race is involved.

This ‘juke box musical’ comes from the team that brought us Dreamboats and Petticoats, namely producer Bill Kenwright and writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (writers of TV’s Birds Of A Feather and Shine On Harvey Moon) so it knows what it is doing. This is its final run of a six-month tour but energy levels still seemed good, despite a very warm Tuesday evening, a less-than-full auditorium and a break halfway through the first half when the stage manager had to come on and say one of the performers had been taken ill. Things got going again after a 10-minute break without a hitch.

Stand out performer of the night for me was Elizabeth Carter, as Marie. A real pocket rocket and one with a big future ahead of her. But it is a good ensemble effort which really moves along at a good pace.

Save The Last Dance For Me is on until Saturday evening.

Mark Leslie