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Review: Stepping Out at Newcastle Peoples Theatre
Escaping reality…through dance
By Richard Harris
Newcastle Peoples Theatre
Until Saturday 21st June 2014.
Everyone has issues. Everyone has a need to escape those issues. Everyone wants to be acknowledged. Peoples Theatre’s latest play features an eclectic bunch who decide to do this through dance.
Mavis is the ex professional dancer who has decided to run the dance class for adults. Kath Frazer does a wonderful job in this role as the undervalued leader. Anne Havis appears as the pianist Mrs Frazer who knows it all. Throughout the story there is some attempt to suggest some of the characters back stories and their reasons for attending. The loan male participant is Geoffrey (Roger Liddle) though he is readily accepted by the others. We never find out where Maxine (Joanne Kelly) is sourcing the stuff she sells to the others; or why Andy(Emma Wass) seems to be so withdrawn. There are suggestions to the reasons why but plenty is left to the audience’s imagination – and it is probably better that way.
The story does look at how relationships strain when a group of strangers come together for a single purpose. As with real life, there are numerous light hearted moments as comedy can be found in many situations.
Director Sally-Anne Cooper and choreographer Julie Bowman have arranged numerous dance routines give the cast a chance to show-off their tap dancing skills. The confidence and ability improves as the show proceeds but that doesn’t stop the opportunity for some comedic moments.
The 8 dancers and their teacher do a superb job of dancing through the show, from the first steps as learners to the full “Top Hat” treatment of the grand finale.The show features the professional hallmarks that one expects from Newcastle’s premier amateur theatre group.