Back to the 60s

Save The Last Dance For Me, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne.

WHEN you hear another show is coming to Eastbourne devised by the same team who brought the highly successful Dreamcoats and Petticoats to town you are slightly worried because second shows are never quite as good as the first.

When Save The Last Dance For Me started I thought my theory was right as the build-up to the story of young love was a bit laboured. Set in the early 60s two sisters are having their first holiday in Lowestoft away from their parents and they are bored. The weather is terrible and there is nothing to do except go to the cinema and see Cliff Richard in Summer Holiday for the fourth time. Then a young American airman Milton comes along and changes their lives – and the show.

He takes the girls to a dance at the local Air Force base where he is stationed. The show comes alive with some great Elvis songs and 17-year-old Marie meets Curtis a young black airman.

There is a lot of references to the racial prejudice that existed in America in the 60s and even in Lowestoft Curtis is subjected to racial abuse but love triumphs over adversity in the end.

Megan Jones is ideal casting as 17-year-old Marie and Jason Denton is also very good as Curtis although his singing voice is not quite as strong as self-confessed rocker A.J.Dean who plays Milton.

Making her professional stage debut in this production is Hannah Frederick as Marie’s older sister Jennifer but you would have thought she was a seasoned performer. Her acting, stage presence and singing are all first class.

Fellow airman Rufus is played by Tosh Wanogho-Maud and he has a very powerful singing voice.

Unlike Dreamcoats the set is minimal with a cardboard cut-out of the caravan where the girls are staying but the dance hall at the American Air Force base makes up for it with the strings of lights and American flags.

This is another Juke Box show full of familiar songs, if you love 60s music you will love this.

Amanda Wilkins