Set in 1970's New York, the Inferno attracts the hottest-dancers in town. It is also the hang-out of the funkiest DJ of them all, Brutos T Firefly and temporary home for English would-be pop star Rik, who falls madly in love with the owner's daughter. While the records are spinning, Rocco, the new Club Manager, is plotting to con the owner Paul out of his club - meanwhile there are plans afoot for the Inferno to be the location for the latest Hollywood big budget movie.
Première Preview: mardi 27 juillet 1999Première: jeudi 05 août 1999Dernière: samedi 16 octobre 1999
"If wall-to-wall Seventies disco hits are your idea of heaven, you may want to yank on your vintage hot pants and platform boots and make for the Apollo. Here you will be encouraged to boogie in the aisles and sing along: "Get up, get on up", That's the way - unuh, uhuh -1 like it" and, erm, so on. These golden oldies and many, many more are pumped out by the off-stage band and director Kim Gavin's all-singingy all-dancing cast in this retro compilation musical... Many of Gavin s cast are wooden actors with a risible nabit of standing in a line facing the front when supposedly chatting each other up. Still, Creole does get things rolling, narrating with spiwy pizazz. Howe is affably shambling. Though he looks a litle self-conscious, the multi-talented Mellor, 23, croons 'Easy like Sunday morning" mellifluously. And finally the dancing, led by the impossibly sexy Michelle McSween, is irresistible. Gavin's choreography, combining natty, synchronised high stretches with pumping, muscular thrusts, really does make you want to get up and get on down." The Daily Telegraph
"Cast a jaundiced eye over the productions currently clogging up London's West End, and You’ll reach the conclusion that all you need to barge your way into the tacky world of musicals is either a job lot of dead rock stars, like 4 Steps to Heaven, or a heap of elderly pop songs from a previous era, in the style of Soul Train. Oh! What A Night isn't the worst specimen you'll find. At least it has some semblance of a story, and the trio of scriptwriters have gestured vaguely in the direction of giving the characters some kind of individual identity... [The plot] has potential, but most or it gets lost in a smog or grindingly feeble jokes and insipid dialogue... Salvation, such as it is, arrives in the form of a barrage of disco classics, including everything from the Hustle, Car Wash and Play that Funky Music to YMCA and the Commodores’ Easy. The dandng is colourful and energetic, on an ingenious set which folds inside out to become either a Manhattan street scene or the Infernos spacious interior. Thanks to the feisty house band, the long finale based on Kool And The Gang's Celebration (not actually released until 1980, trainspotters!) turned into an extended rave which was by far the best part of the show. If you're going, disengage your brain first." The Guardian
"...Another compilation musical as dumb, energetic and irritating as an overexcited puppy. This one, which originated in Manchester, pegs 40 disco standards of the Seventies to a paper-thin plot centring on a New York nightclub, and enlists two soap actors and poor old Kid Creole - who must have fallen on hard times - to buttress its inanity. The dancing is good, the acting dreadful, the sets sumptuous and the costumes absurd. The songs do their funky groove thang on the rare occasions when they are properly audible... [The] story is only there to showcase the songs ana the hits come thick, fast, loud and incoherent. Many great tunes are belted out without consonants. Many are off-key or off-beat, while the charmless Mellor gets to reprise his one chart hit, When I Need You, at nauseating length. Kid Creole coasts and John Altman does a bad gangster impression. The play's depiction of ethnic harmony masks a great deal of blaxploitation stereotyping. Kim Gavin concentrates on zesty dance routines rather than the acting or the music: and in a show that sells itself on the nostalgic pull of its soundtrack, that's not good enough. The London Evening Standard
"...It's not hard to divine the thinking behind the current vogue for gigs masquerading as musicals. The songs are the draw, and when they are well performed they provide an honest and satisfying night out. Oh! What A Night tried to be a bit cleverer. The scenario sounds reasonable enough: a disco musical set in a Seventies New York nightclub. The plot turns around the attempts by hoodlum Rocco to seize control of the joint from Paul, its alcoholic owner. The subplot involves Paul's daughter Nikki’s engagement to Rocco's slimy son and her yen for grimy Mancunian Rik (Mellor). And the sub-sub plot concerns a talent contest being held to choose dancers for a Hollywood disco flick. But apart from the suspicion that several parts were written purely for the actors, it all looks like an unnecessary excuse to stage some well-loved songs. The script is so moribund - even for the Seventies - and the acting and direction so rudimentary that you wish they would just get on with the real business at hand. When they do - with YMCA at the end of the first half, and a medley of hits at the end of the second - the show gets a much-needed boost. Even so, the choreography is nothing to write home about: some of the routines look like an aerobics class with a soundtrack... the cast are given precious few chances to work their charms, and the show misses any real sense of the Seventies by a mile. The Times
This show originated in Manchester, and even though it had a somewhat complicated plot, it was effectively yet another compilation musical. It had two TV soap-operas stars and an American rock star in its cast, and was lavishly staged. However, it only managed a ten week run.
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