Star rating: 5/5.
Directed By Richard Hayhow, Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 18-28 August
Imagine there is only one starry night left before the end of this world… what would we do? Dance, of course. At least that’s what this latest sparkling production from The Shysters, a professional theatre group for people with learning difficulties, would have us do, writes Graham Hopkins.
Railway stations – as with theatre – are there to transport you to another place and this elegant, funny and moving show takes us on a whistlestop tour of emotions – as willowy waltzes weep in between trampling tangos and flighty fandangos. We travel through Brief Encounter and The Singing Detective country replete with statutory mackintosh raincoats and period hats (trilby or not trilby?).
Chief railway porter Alan Kelly, and his two overdressed underlings Jon Tipton and Sunny Patel-Jones, conduct a carriage of train passengers with a baggage of stories to tell through music and dance, including the bewitching Katharine Marshall’s one-way ticket to doomed love. We’re swept up as brushes become guitars and tabletops pianos.
However, the dancing is anything but fake, particularly the physicality of the excellent Tipton (whose facial expressions are a treat) and the exceptional Patel-Jones, who doesn’t just settle for stealing scenes but commits grand larceny each time he joins in. He has some mean feet. The boy’s a star; which is no mean feat among this gifted ensemble. The Shysters made sure that I knew I had been tango’d. Get your dance card out.