The Works - Grand Theatre, Blackpool
If you fear ever seeing a showcase for young talent which doesn’t include Glee revivals or a medleys from High School Musical then book now for the July edition of this excellent production.
For this twice yearly showcase for the students of Phil Winston’s Blackpool-based Theatreworks think the likes of cult musical Side Show’s stage cramming Come Look At the Freaks. Even the more tradition tap dancing featured in Puttin’ On The Ritz comes courtesy of Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein rather than Fred Astaire’s Blue Skies.
The Works is quite simply the most entertaining, exciting and enthusiastic show you will see anywhere. Former students have graduated into major musicals, international cabaret, Disney productions and cruise ships across the world. Something like 80 per cent of last year’s graduates walked - or more precisely danced and sang –their way into professional jobs and this year’s should similarly have little difficulty finding work.
This year’s first production clearly has its eye on the recession busting major musical revivals – though you are rarely going to see the likes of the leggy baker’s dozen chorus line or a stage crammed with up to 80 potential professional performers anywhere but here.
There’s circus skills, hip hop, ballet, tango, flamenco and funk, all presented so seamlessly it’s often difficult to distinguish where one number ends and the next begins, despite a raft of choreographers taking their turns to bring out of the best in their students.
As ever it’s unfair to highlight individuals because despite some startlingly good individual performances this is an ensemble production. The likes of a moving tribute to Whitney Houston with Andrew Chadwick’s contemporary adaptation of Dance With Somebody could grace any show.
Once again though it’s full marks all round. Make sure you are there for the July version of the show.