REVIEW: Puttin’ On the Ritz | Liverpool Empire | 06.10.15

Puttin' On The RitzDancing it’s way into the Liverpool Empire Theatre last week, Puttin’ On the Ritz is a toe-tapping production featuring some of the most famous songs from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Stephanie Harrison reviews.

The other night I headed to the Liverpool Empire to review Puttin’ On the Ritz, the song and dance extravaganza celebrating the music of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. As a fan of this golden age of showbiz I was looking forward to the glamour and grandeur of classics such as ‘Anything Goes’, ‘Summertime’ and ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’.

Firstly and most importantly to note this is an evening of song and dance, not a narrative, and it should be enjoyed as such. The combination of jazz, ballroom and latin from Robin and Anya of Strictly Come Dancing fame spices up proceedings, intersected with the beautiful soul voice of Ricky Rojas whose vocals are like spun sugar.

The highlight of the evening however is the indomitable Ray Quinn, who receives the warmest of welcomes as a local lad on stage and is quite simply a triple threat (singing, dancing, acting – is there anything that boy can’t do?). He’s easy to watch and easy to love! His performance of ‘Mr Bojangles’ was also a highlight and a perfect lesson in storytelling through song.

The dance routines heated up in the second half with dancers performing a “Cotton Club” medley celebrating music by the likes of Louis Armstrong and a brilliantly choreographed Charleston with hilarious floor section.

If there were any disappointments it was the lack of live orchestra which detracted from the overall authenticity, as well as the use of dubbed tap-dancing sound effects which were a little unnecessary and quite distracting.

However on the whole, Puttin’ On the Ritz is a lovely easy-watching evening of light entertainment, perfect for transporting your Nan back to her heyday!

Written by Stephanie Harrison

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