Amazing Grace, New York New York was a majestic, glittering jewel of a show. As the set list played itself through a range of Broadway classics, each number was accompanied by a marvellous showcase of calisthenics.
What opened as something more traditional – three boys bounding down past the audience onto the National Theatre stage as they perform New York, New York, quickly became something remarkable.
It was a dazzling watch, but also one to admire. Each song, whether instrumental, plaintive or spectacular by the main cast – Stephanie Wall, Thomas McGuane, Nigel Huckle, Emily Langridge and Alexis Van Maanen – were supported by thirty-six performers and dancers in an extraordinary display of contortion and strength.
Whether something beautifully sparse, like Stephanie Wall leading a moving rendition of She Used to be Mine, or barnstorming like the positively exothermic encore of The Greatest Show – choreographers Sue-Ellen Shook, Lucinda Williams, and Jeanne Sorich did extraordinary work with the cast as the setlist veered its way from song to song, each demanding something different in terms of tone and physicality.
Excellent support was offered by Musical Director Jack Earle, and the orchestra sprinkled along upstage. A nice touch, also came from Director Karen Jemison’s costume design, as performers would suddenly form a captivating spectrum across the stage.
Amazing Grace, New York New York
National Theatre, 20 Carlisle Street, St Kilda
Performance: Saturday 1 February 2020 – 7.30pm
Season: 31 January – 2 February 2020 (closed)
For more information, visit: www.manillastproductions.co.uk for details.
Image: Mack & Mabel segment from Amazing Grace New York New York – courtesy of Manilla Street Productions
Review: David Collins