Review: Save The Last Dance For Me at Cambridge Arts Theatre
- Credit: Archant
Save the Last Dance for Me at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, November 9. Review by Angela Singer.
Songs are often more famous than their writers. Who doesn’t know Teenager in Love, Suspicion, His Latest Flame, Sweets for My Sweet, Can’t Get Used to Losing You and Save the Last Dance for Me?
Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, both sons of Jewish immigrants to America (as was Harold Arlen who wrote Somewhere Over the Rainbow) produced a string of hits, covered by top artists across the US and Europe from the late 50s into the 1960s.
Some have an added poignancy. Save The Last Dance for Me, a number one for The Drifters in 1960, has words written by Pomus who was so disabled by polio as a child he was unable to dance with his wife at their wedding. As he watched her on the dance floor, he had to trust that she would remember who was taking her home and in whose arms she was gonna be.
This show, a celebration of music which got people up on their feet in the early 60s, is vibrant with song and dance. It is woven together by the story of a teenage girl from Luton who falls in love with a black American airman stationed at Lowestoft, where she goes on holiday with her older sister.
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Several of the actors/singers are also the musicians in the band. Lauren Storer and Kieran Kuypers are impressive, each playing two characters in the story as well as blinding saxophone.
Their music and the voices of the principals, Kieran McGinn, Elizabeth Carter, Verity Jones, Jay Perry, Alan Howell and Joe McCourt are a privilege to hear and the story is movingly played.
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It is difficult to get too dewy-eyed about that period as the sexual politics stank. The boys got the thrills and the girls got the Magdalene Laundries, which had their counterparts in England too. It’s not an era you would wish back.
But some of those numbers still make you want to sing and dance and it is good to see a showcase for talent.