Great costumes but 
an orchestra would have been brilliant

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Putting on the Ritz, 
Eastbourne Congress Theatre

This nostalgic trip down memory lane featuring the golden days of Hollywood musicals and the great composers like Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter opened at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne tonight.

No expense has been spared on the superb set and costumes but one thing is lacking – a live orchestra.

Instead, everything is done to a backing tape, which in places is too loud, nearly drowning the singers. It went wrong shortly after the show started by beginning in the middle of the track and one of the singers had to announce to the audience that they would have to start the number again from the beginning of the track.

However the show vastly improved in the second half and was almost a different production.

We were able to see more of the brilliant dancers performing on their own, which is what is expected from a show called Putting on the Ritz.

The six singers did a good job but there have been many singing tributes to the composers of the past and it is the dancers who make this show.

The highlight for me was the entire troupe of dancers sitting on the edge of the stage doing a hand and leg dance getting faster and faster that got many calls for an encore.

There is one good reason not to miss Putting on the Ritz and that is their special guest star, Judy Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft. She talks about her mother, sings her mother’s songs and is magnificent.

I feel privileged to have had the chance to see her live on stage.

Putting on the Ritz is good but it could have been so much better with a live orchestra.