REVIEW: Puttin’ on the Ritz, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Until June 6

Puttin' on the Ritz is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.
Puttin' on the Ritz is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.

This cheesy song and dance show is sure to transport you back to Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Puttin’ on the Ritz is a tribute to the famous music of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and George Gershwin from the 1920s.

The show sees a troupe of singers and dancers perform timeless classics like I Won’t Dance, Let There Be Love and title track Puttin’ on the Ritz.

It also featured pop starlet and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Pixie Lott, alongside Trent Whiddon, the professional she danced with on the show, as well as fellow Strictly pros Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor.

Pixie, who is only doing a handful of tour dates, was a real coup for Newcastle.

Her dancing was elegant and lovely and her performance of her own track, Cry Me Out in the second act was stunning.

Kristina and Robin’s routines were wonderful. Their slick choreography was designed perfectly to fit with every beat of the music and their lifts and tricks garnered plenty of delighted gasps from the audience.

The show seemed to be sold on the appearances of the Strictly stars, but for me, their performances were few and far between.

Each pair made just five appearances throughout the two hour show, and the parts in between their stage time were a little cringe-worthy.

The way the six singers introduced songs and swayed in couples with their arms wrapped around each other felt dated and over the top.

Strictly Come Dancing stars Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor.

Strictly Come Dancing stars Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor.

Vocally, some performances were absolutely fantastic, in particular with Minnie The Moocher, Makin’ Whoopee and My Man, but overall it felt a bit like I was at a holiday camp.

I had similar mixed feelings about the 10-strong troupe of dancers.

Some of the choreography was quick and thrilling, but some of it fell a little flat for me.

The Charleston, tap dancing and a hand-slapping routine that saw the dancers sat on the edge of the stage were huge highlights, but some of it felt more old fashioned than nostalgic.

Pixie, who is only doing a handful of tour dates, was a real coup for Newcastle.

The dancers looked at their best when they were wearing more individual costumes – the matching dresses and suits weren’t my cup of tea.

A couple of the female dancers seemed to have mastered the natural stage smile, but the others had huge false grins that made them seem almost menacing.

The staging was extremely basic, with two sets of glittery stairs and a bridge decorated with silk and metallic streamers, that was reminiscent of the kind of set-up a social club turn would bring along in the back of his van.

The show wasn’t really my thing, but the older people in the audience couldn’t seem to get enough of it.

I was surrounded by people singing along and tapping their feet to the famous tunes, some of which, I’ll admit I didn’t recognise.

It may not have been my ideal night at the theatre, but others seemed to love every last second.

Pixie Lott.

Pixie Lott.

Puttin’ on the Ritz runs at the Theatre Royal until Saturday, June 6. Click here to book tickets.

Twitter: @VickiNewmanJP