AD – GIFTED
Make sure you’ve got your dancing shoes on, ready to bop the night away to On Your Feet. It’s the new Latin pop musical that’s bringing the P-A-R-T-A-Y to stage.
It’s the true story that charts Gloria Estefan’s inspirational journey from immigrant to superstar. She earned more than the likes of Madonna so she was a pretty big deal. ‘Conga’ and ‘Rhythm is gonna get you’ being some of her biggest hits.
Love a fun, upbeat pop musical? Check out my & Juliet review.
A story of two halves
As someone who didn’t know Gloria’s story, I was thoroughly entertained by this musical biography. It touched on all aspects of her life from her Cuban childhood and conflicting family unit to her love story with husband Emilio and struggles within the music industry. Not forgetting her shocking accident. I felt incredibly informed.
But it did produce a story of two halves. The first, a high energy, fast paced, lively and passionate beginning. The second, almost a new musical all together. Depicting her struggles and accident in a linear fashion with slow song after slow song. I wish this was shaken up a little bit to keep the narrative fresh and funky. Light and shade.
I was utterly transfixed
I genuinely felt like I was back in Little Havana in Miami. My favourite place in Florida. The costumes, choreography and fun performances brought the sunshine and salsa to a rainy Manchester.
The set might have been simple, but that gave room for the most inspired routines. I was utterly transfixed by the Latin numbers that set fire to the stage. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It puts Strictly Come Dancing to shame.
But I have never had to try so hard to stay still. You’re able to ‘get on your feet’ post bows but up until then there didn’t seem to be opportunity. Maybe a theatre isn’t the best setting for this show? A club maybe? Somewhere way more informal.
The powerhouse cast
Phillipa Stefani (Gloria) had passion and her connection with George Ioannides (Emilio) was sweet and genuine. Madalena Alberto (Gloria’s mother) blew me away in her solo number and Karen Mann became the grandma we all wish we had. The most loveable character by far.
But really, it’s the whole cast that make this a powerhouse Musical. Their talent is undeniable.
Book tickets for On Your Feet on Tour. Touring the UK until 7 March 2020.
Played at Manchester Palace Theatre until Saturday 2 November. Find more information here.
Photo credit: Johan Persson