Reviewed by Dave Smith
Sue Oldknow wrote, directed, designed, choreographed and performed in Steppin’ Out, the pastiche of songs and comedy skits from the 1930s to the 1950s. It was some task she set herself, and to a large extent she succeeded.
The songs were very familiar to the opening night audience which filled the cabaret-styled auditorium. Many hummed and sang along with such favourites as Come Fly With Me, I’ll Be Seeing You, I Got Rhythm, and many others. The songs often became chorus pieces with basic, yet lively and appropriate choreography to illustrate them. The programme flowed smoothly, with the songs interspersed with comedy sketches featuring a number of the era’s writers and performers, and even some of their familiar lines, most notably Abbott and Costello’s Who’s on First. Transitions between scenes were either announced by a cast member as narrator, or were linked by the context of the most recent song or skit.
It was a pretty even ensemble piece over all, with individuals impressing in their cameo roles. Deirdre Quinn struck the right mood with Lili Marlene, Julie Oldknow and Sue Oldknow brought spark to Lullaby of Broadway, Alex Ling showed a relaxed, agreeable persona in his songs and sketches, and John Martin’s smooth baritone gave surety and class to all his work, particularly the emblematic A Foggy Day In London Town. Also, Sue Cherry, Clint Mullins and Kirsty Battersby were lively and engaging.
As a piece of entertainment, it held together well and was warmly appreciated by all.