ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

STEPPING OUT by Richard Harris Directed by Alexander Cohen PADOS Studio Theatre It’s a Thursday night and the sense that glitz and the sound of tap dancing will inevitably mean a good night is had by all was quite apparent as people took their seats for the latest PADOS play. ‘Stepping Out’ is set in a church hall. It tells aspects of the complicated lives of the seven women and one man that, for various reasons, have joined the weekly dance class, where they are supported by their teacher and pianist. While this hour of tuition is part of their break from everyday life it takes on an urgency and seriousness when the Mavis Turner Tappers are asked to show their skills as part of a charity gala. This production was set in the ‘80s when neon colours, legwarmers, leotards, and lycra were all the fashion. Some of the vocabulary might jar with audiences today, and might benefit from a little editing, but if you are a traditionalist it still stands as a reflection of the time it was written. The set was creative and functional for a small space, and by placing the piano on a raised rostrum it helped the audience see all the characters as they performed. The tappers start to assemble and get ready for their weekly session. Their teacher, Mavis (Susan Glover) and accompanist, Mrs Fraser (Shirley Harrison) are on hand to take the mixed aged bunch of students through their steps. As with many groups, there is a mixture of characters all thrown together at the class. There are always the confident loud ladies, like the very expressive, assertive, plain-speaking type, Sylvia (Sara Brockway), Maxine (Diane Davis) who is always able to source things for others at knockdown prices or Rose (Judith Johnson) who wears a wig while her natural hair recovers from a hair disaster. Then there are the quieter characters, Dorothy (Judith Firth), Lynne (Hannah