On Your Feet! – Review

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On Your Feet!: London Coliseum, London

Reviewed 27th June 2019

★★★★★ 

Direct from Broadway, On Your Feet! is the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. Inspired by the true love story of Emilio and Gloria, On Your Feet! charts their journey from its origins in Cuba, to the streets of Miami and finally to international superstardom. Bursting with some of the most iconic pop songs such as ‘Rhythm Is Gonna Get You’, ‘Conga’, ‘Get On Your Feet’, ‘Don’t Want To Lose You Now’ and ‘1-2-3’ this fun musical is directed by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde), with choreography by Olivier Award-winner Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) and book by Academy Award® winnerAlexander Dinelaris (Birdman).

From the outset the show has a carnival, party feel. The samba and tango inspired choreography by Sergio Trujillo is executed perfectly by the incredibly talented cast members. This sharp choreography is full of Latin flare, energy and passion and the dances alone help to transport the audience to Cuba and take you on Gloria’s journey. The exquisite costumes by Emilio Sosa are bright, colourful and beautifully constructed. Vibrant lighting by Kenneth Posner ensures that the party spirit is in full swing. The brightly coloured lighting is reflective of the Latino, carnival vibe and works brilliantly for this production.

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Having already impressed Broadway with her role as Gloria Estefan, Christie Prades returns to the role for its stint at the London Coliseum before Philippa Stefani takes on the character for the UK Tour which is currently booking until April 2020. Christie Prades has real star qualities from the moment she steps on stage. Her charm and charisma and natural way of acting is subtle enough to be realistic and believable, despite the huge size of the London Coliseum. It goes without saying that her vocals are incredible but what stands her apart is the range and emotion she shows within each song. George Ioannides is outstanding as Emilio Estefan. Injecting humour into the piece as well as being the backbone of Gloria’s life and career. His duet ‘If I Never Got To Tell You’ with Madalena Alberto (Gloria Fajardo) really showcases his emotional connection with the character and his vocals during ‘Don’t Wanna Lose You‘ are simply stunning. Karen Mann’s comic timing and humour is brilliant as Consuelo and she is definitely a crowd favourite. All of the cast are superb! No moments are lost onstage and the enthusiasm and commitment shown by each cast member is second to none.

Even if you are not that familiar with Gloria Estefan’s work there are certain songs such as ‘Dr. Beat‘ and ‘Conga‘ that almost everyone will recognise. These classic favourites are performed brilliantly, particularly ‘Conga‘ which makes the audience feel like they actually are at a Gloria concert. On Your Feet! is unlike other jukebox or biographical musicals because the songs actually fit the show rather than feeling shoe-horned in. The lyrics make sense and the songs are used to tell the story, rather than just to accompany it. Obviously, with Gloria Estefan’s dance and party vibe by the end of the show the entire audience are tapping their toes and are certainly ready to get on their feet!

Given the fantastic, vibrant lighting; Latino choreography and digital effects this musical is a feast for the eyes as much as for the ears. Whilst the story of Gloria’s life may not be the most dramatic or trying, the production does not feel slow or lacking in pace. It is a brilliant night out and really has the party spirit. It will be interesting to see how this spectacular show works as a UK tour where inevitably elements will have to be made and the show scaled back and adapted. But for the moment enjoy heading out to the carnival conga and getting on your feet to dance with Gloria whilst On Your Feet! is at the London Coliseum.

 

 

On Your Feet! is playing at the London Coliseum until the 31st August 2019 before heading out on a national tour until the 4th April 2020. For information, tour venues and tickets click here.

This review was originally written for and published by LondonTheatre1

Photo Credit: Johan Persson

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