Musical Review


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Ovation Presents

A Slice of Saturday Night

Photo by Lucy Young

Book, Music and Lyrics By The Heather Brothers


Directed by John Plews


Musical Direction by Tim Jackson


Upstairs At The Gatehouse


16 Dec 2010 - 30 Jan 2011






A review by Bernie Whelan for EXTRA! EXTRA!

Upstairs at The Gatehouse houses a large space for an off-West End theatre, with tiered seating for well  over a hundred, a cinema style screen and sound engineering with every performer hooked up to a hidden microphone. It boasts resources which might make it the envy of many other less well funded fringe theatre companies. A Slice of Saturday Night is a slick production, well produced, casted and choreographed to high standards, both lighting and set design were well executed. However, right from the opening number there was something missing. In spite of the wild enthusiasm of the young cast and the experience behind 'Club A Go Go' host Eric, played by Jason Griffiths, it lacked any kind of heart. The cast was full of talented musicians, singers and dancers, some taking turns at the keyboards so that the band were part of the action but although there were many novel aspects to the show, with a revolving part to the stage which changed the scene from the bar to the toilets of the 'Club A Go Go', it didn't have anything to say.

The premise of the show was a nostalgic look at going out clubbing in the mid-sixties, aiming for that retro ‘60s night ambiance which still pulls the crowds into clubs across the country. The show does achieve this, with great costumes (Anieka Russell) and song after song about what it's like for boys and girls looking for love at 'Club A Go Go'. The lyrics tell a familiar tale of the loneliness and longing of both sexes, with a crudely reductive and stereotypical view of girls wanting respect and love while boys are just after sex in 'Romance/Wham Bam'. However, the worst :othario Gary, (Jon Hawkins) learns to value his downtrodden girlfriend Sue (Nancy Hill) while the wettest and most shy Rick (Rossano Canzio) is courted by Sharon (Nicola McQuillan), the girl who sits on the loo wishing she hadn't had sex with someone else. Meanwhile, Bridget (Stephanie Ticknell-Smith) leads the girls in resisting the advances of the boys with 'Don't Touch Me'. Many of these songs take advantage of pop tunes from the sixties, including classics like 'Sherry Baby' by Franki Valli and The Four Seasons.

The cast did personify a popular myth of the ‘60s. They had all the charm of youth, bringing enviable energy and grace to every one of the thirty-three numbers on the tedious song list. Even avuncular night club manager 'Rubber legs Eric' couldn't help loving them all, advising the wayward Eddie (Adam Pettigrew) to stop popping those purple hearts. It was just a bit too corny though and didn't tell the audience anything they didn't know already from countless ‘60s nostalgia trips. In fact I suspect many of the audience, local patrons of this theatre, had been there the first time round and like me, remained unconvinced that these ‘60s were anything like the ones they had lived though. I enjoyed the clips of news events from the ‘60’s projected onto the screen before the show and in the interval, for me they were the most entertaining part of the evening.



Photo by Lucy Young


Upstairs at The Gatehouse

Highgate Village, London N6 4BD
Tuesdays- Saturdays at 7.45pm (Sundays at 4.00pm)
Matinees on Sun 26th, Mon 27th & Tues 28th Dec at 4pm
Thurs £12, Concs £10
Fri and Sat, £16 Concs £14
Sun, £14 Concs £10
(except: Sun 26th Dec and Sun 30th Jan - £16 Concs £14)
Box Office: 020 8340 3488





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