Filled with charm and fabulous dancing, On Your Feet! is the ultimate feel-good show for the Summer.
This vibrant and colourful musical has plenty of energy and personality about it to ensure that a smile is kept on your face from beginning to end – even if the plot feels slightly flimsy in places.
Taking us from her childhood in Cuba, all the way through to her recording some of her biggest hits (with a few bumps along the way), On Your Feet! feels like a true celebration of Gloria Estefan’s career. From start to finish, the cast are all wonderfully enthusiastic and energetic, with Sergio Trujillo’s choreography proving to be particularly electrifying to watch.
While Alexander Dinelaris’s book is slightly lacking in emotional engagement in places – it always quick to move on from emotionally charged moments such as when Gloria is arguing with her mother – it does highlight to some extent the grit and determination that Gloria had in pursuing her dreams. The scene in which they have run in with their record producer about them wanting to produce a record in English highlights this to great effect.
Jerry Mitchell’s production fully allows the flaws in the book to be put to one side by placing so many of Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine’s songs right at the centre to allow the audience to be thoroughly entertained – particularly during numbers ‘1-2-3’ and ‘Conga’ among others -that it is difficult not to be swept away by it all. The energy levels are consistently high, never allowing the audience to catch their breath (in the best way). It is a slickly directed show that completely embraces the latin vibe.
Elsewhere, Emilo Soso’s dazzling and colourful costumes enhance the liveliness of the production to perfection, while Kenneth Posner’s lighting ensures a party vibe throughout but also strips it back to create a reflective atmosphere at key moments well. Praise should also be given to the on stage ten piece band, who bring the songs to life with great enthusiasm.
If this was not enough, Christie Prades as Gloria herself offers a stunning performance that is worth catching . Wonderfully spirited, she delivers a confident performance that keeps the audience thoroughly engaged, both vocally and as the character. She also has a lovely chemistry with George Ioannides as Emilio Estefan that feels completely natural and believable. Ioannides delivers a strong performance that highlights the character’s passion and belief in Gloria’s talents. Karen Mann as Consuelo, who pushes Gloria to follow her dreams is a delight to watch, while Madalena Alberto as Gloria’s mother captures the difficult nature of their relationship with great sharpness and perceptiveness.
Fun and entertaining from start to finish, On Your Feet! is a great feel-good show that will have you at least toe tapping along if not dancing in the aisles- despite some of the flaws in the book which could be easily rectified. If you do go along – prepare to dance your way out of the theatre afterwards.
By Emma Clarendon
On Your Feet! will play at the London Coliseum from the 14th June until the 31st August 2019. To book tickets click here or visit: See Tickets, West End Theatre Breaks, Love Theatre.com, Encore Tickets, Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk, From the Box Office.