Tits and teeth is the name of the game at the Vaudeville Theatre. Put on your best smile and face front. That is the lesson given to Mavis’s hapless tap class and it becomes clear that the characters adopt this in their lives, using the class as a means of escape.
Richard Harris’s Stepping Out is back in the West End. A comedy set around a group of people brought together each week at their tap class. From all walks of life, they are not a bunch you would naturally group together, and it is that mix of characters that makes it such an enjoyable play. They are well constructed, and in this instance well played, to a degree where the audience cares about their plight and when their stories are revealed, we feel for the characters.
Set in a dingy church hall in 1983, the play sees the hapless tappers using the tap class to muddle through life, but all is disturbed when the chance to perform at a charity gala arises. Arguments and drama arise due to the tensions of putting themselves under the spotlight, a group of people whom in their private life, shy away from such attention.
The production is well executed and Maria Friedman has done a great job in directing the piece, drawing out the comedy and the heart in the story. Top billing has gone to Amanda Holden, a known face on television and sure to pull in the crowds. However, the show’s star is the ensemble who work together with a great dynamic to deliver lines and business with excellent comic timing and style. Also of note is Anna Jane Casey who has stepped in (pun intended) to the role of Mavis, the class leader at short notice. The role was originally to be played by Tamzin Outhwaite who has, unfortunately, had to withdraw due to an injury.
A fun, light-hearted show, audiences will not be disappointed and will find themselves rooting for the characters as they take on their big tap number.