Theatre in the round?  In Eastbourne?  That is exactly what you got for this year’s summer production of Kiss Me Quickstep.  And it was a near-full house that waited in eager anticipation in the Floral Hall at the Winter Garden – transformed into the venue for the national ballroom dancing championships – for the start of this new play by Amanda Whittington.  Quite a brave departure perhaps for our somewhat conservative audience but there was no doubt that this mix of comedy, wonderful dancing spectacle and drama was a winner.

Even if the scene-setting first half was a little slow, it ended on a dancing high and the audience was totally engaged as the story unfolded after the interval.  No props or set – other than a few suitcases and some wonderful costumes – this was certainly a departure from the norm for most watching but there was an abundance of things to capture the imagination: the clever direction and beautiful choreography brought the best out of the talented cast as you lived through the trials and tribulations of the real lives behind all the spangle and spray tan of the ballroom scene.  Even falling glitter and audience participation came into the finale mix!  Spot our members on the dance floor!

Spot the Friend on the dance floor

It was with real eagerness that the Friends waited for the cast and company to join them in the Bistro for a most well deserved drink after the show.  Such a talented, modest and friendly lot!

The Cast and Company

For those devotees of Strictly, it was hard to believe that some of the cast had not danced before – so convincing was their performance.  There were some familiar faces too:  our own Front of House Manager, Carl Williams (front row far left), took to the boards in the ensemble multi-tasking with his day job and a really welcome return for Alan Burkitt who last appeared at the Congress in Top Hat.

Clockwise from bottom left: Matt Crosby, James Buller, Bart Lambert, Abigail Moore Hannah Edwards, Amy Barnes, Alan  Burkitt

Clockwise from bottom left: Matt Crosby, James Buller, Bart Lambert, Abigail Moore
Hannah Edwards, Amy Barnes, Alan Burkitt

We hope to see them all back again soon – and more innovative theatre like this please, Mr. Jordan!