If ever there was an example of how a good or bad libretto can play an integral part in a musical’s long-term success it is this latest revival of Rodgers and Hart’s 1936 show.
Unlike Anything Goes, the book for On Your Toes has not been edited or revised and it shows. While director Paul Kerryson has worked hard to breath new life into the piece, the results remain underwhelming.
With his background in classical and modern dance, Adam Cooper would seem like the perfect choreographer for a musical that bridges the gaps between both forms, culminating in the classic jazz ballet Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. But despite his own superb dancing and staging that is both original and respectful of Balanchine’s original work, sexiness and excitement appear low on the agenda.
This may also have to do with a surprising lack of onstage chemistry between Sarah Wildor’s ballerina Vera Baranova and her co-star Konstantine (Irek Mukhamedov). However, there are still scenes and performances to savour, all played out on Paul Farnsworth’s clever set of sliding panels and back projections.
Anna-Jane Casey’s nicely judged portrayal of Frankie features an exquisite rendition of Glad to Be Unhappy. In addition, Kathryn Evans, playing Peggy, quite rightly won acclaim for a sweet and funny You Took Advantage of Me, sung alongside Russian impresario Sergei (Russell Dixon).
This show was reviewed prior to the website launch. A new review may be pending.