Jo Morris wearing Natacha Marro by Manuel Vason
Glitz and glamour were the order of the night at Sadlers Wells yesterday. A sleb spangled gala audience arrived via red carpet, many of them in fancy footwear apt for the occasion. Their fabulousness was fully reflected in the feast of footsie frippery that is 'Shoes' - a 21st century musical revue.
Richard Thomas, the co-writer of the 8000 obscenities
in Jerry Springer the Opera and incubating brain for the forthcoming opera of the life of Anna Nicole Smith
, successfully pitched Shoes to Sadlers in a 15 minute meeting. He then had to get to grips with his theme, immersing himself in shoes and shoe lore, coming up with scores of comedy songs about them. Over 30 made it to choreography by Stephen Mear and guests and a staggering 29 to the show last night.Shoes mixes musical theatre, comedy, operatic airs, hip hop, contemporary, tap and a multiplicity of footwear. The songs are wickedly amusing and the 4 singers are tremendous, striking a judicious balance between song and dance. Perhaps made possible by reality dance TV, the cast stars 3 of "Britain's Favourite Dancers" from SYTYCD
alongside West End pros. Teneisha Bonner is outstanding, particularly in her Kate Prince choreographed 'Sneaker Addict' shorts but the ensemble are awesome, whether in crash helmets and heels, swinging off bungee ropes in fetish wear, diving over beach balls in flip flops or making like sheep in Ugg Boots. Three cheers for Jesus in Birkenstocks and praise be that the Crocs are airlifted off stage early on.The set and styling is fabulously riotous, the shoes in all their variety are glorious. It's like the entire cast and creative team have been mainlining caffeine and tripping on sugar, striving to make this the Best. Thing. Ever. And yet we left feeling like we'd had too many E numbers. Heart and soul has gone into making this new show shine but its subject matter is fundamentally shallow and its skits play too easily to cliche. We could have left satiated at the end of Act I. But this show is going to be loved for its easy spectacle, its fashion teasing wit and the overt fun of it all. Next stop, Broadway? Wouldn't be surprised.Shoes is on till Saturday (but don't worry - we reckon this will not be your only opportunity to see it) at Sadler's Wells. Tickets £10-48.
Last Updated 08 September 2010