Putting on the Ritz

I defy anyone to sit through this show and not smile just a little bit. Unless of course you have a pathological aversion to sequins, then you might want to stay away. 

In fact the costumes are a star in their own right in this show, with elegant ball gowns and sparkly skirts (and a few brightly coloured dinner jackets for the boys) help set the scene in this journey through dance. 

A look back at the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood Putting on the Ritz dances through Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin as well as a tribute to the music and dance of the Cotton Club. Classic songs including ‘Night and day’ ‘I got Rhythm’ ‘Easter Parade’ and of course ‘Putting on the Ritz’ showcase the amazing dance skills as well as the talented singers. 

It’s not a traditional musical, but a dance piece and dance takes centre stage introduced by the singing team, and delivered by one of the most talented dance ensembles I have seen in a long time. Moving effortlessly through ballroom and Latin they show off polished routines and a clear enthusiasm for their routines. 

Alongside the ensemble are two star couples of Strictly Come Dancing Fame. Trent Whiddon and Gordana Grandosek and Robin Windsor and Anya Gardis. Positioned between bigger ensemble numbers the two couples showed the power and magic that just two dancers can create. Whiddon and Grandosek showed off their polished partnership and a sense of quirkiness and humour to their dances. It’s a shame that Strictly audiences didn’t get to see more of this pair last year. When Robin Windsor and Anya took to the stage it was a true masterclass of performance. Credit first to Anya who has huge shoes to fill in place of Robin’s usual professional partner Kristina Rhiannoff and who shines in her own right. Anya’s chemistry with Robin is fantastic and she is a beautiful and talented dancer-I’d love to see more of her. Robin Windsor puts reals sparkle in his dance (and some fabulous outfits) and to see him dance is a real lesson in how it’s done. Everyone in this production is flawlessly excellent but there is that certain something about Robin’s dancing that puts him above the rest and a real ‘wow’ factor. For me the electric Rumba he and Anya performed was a highlight of the evening.

Putting on the Ritz is a real treat for dance fans, and I’d say a great introduction to watching a dance show for those unsure. The classic songs and high-paced atmosphere makes for a fun evening of dance. The talent of the ensemble and principle dancers will wow you and hopefully convert the dance newbies for life.

Puttin’ On The Ritz, New Theatre, Cardiff until the 26th September
Evenings 7:30pm and Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday Matinees 2:30pm

Published by Emily Garside

Academic, journalist and playwright. My PhD was on theatrical responses to the AIDS epidemic, and I continue to write on Queer theatrical history. Professional nerd of all things theatre.

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