BWW Review: ON YOUR FEET!, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Direct from the West End, On Your Feet! is the story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan and their rise to international fame.
Aged just 17, Gloria caught the attention of Emilio Estefan and started singing and songwriting for his band Miami Sound Machine. They achieved great success in South America but the pair were determined to cross over into mainstream pop and start recording songs in English. They defied industry prejudice and achieved acclaim worldwide.
Philippa Stefani is electric as Gloria Estefan throughout. Her vocals are fantastic and really shine on hits like "Conga"; "Get On Your Feet" and "Doctor Beat" and she perfectly captures her drive and ambition. Madalena Alberto plays Gloria Fajardo, her disapproving mother. She sees Emilio as somebody who has taken her daughter away from her and is still bitter from not being allowed to follow her own dreams in her youth.
Sergio Trujillo's choreography is a real star of the show. The group dance numbers and performance scenes are a major highlight and alongside a talented cast, are what gives this production so much energy.
The only flaw in Alexander Dinelaris' book is that some of the storytelling feels a little rushed. The romantic relationship seems to be glossed over as it leaps from a lengthy working relationship to a kiss and then casually dropping into conversation that the pair are now married and have a son.
On Your Feet! does an excellent job at balancing infectious pop songs with heartfelt ballads. Act Two sees a slightly slower pace than the high-energy first half as Gloria is involved in a serious bus accident. Jukebox musicals often get a bad rep for shoehorning songs into the script but the format of this production and the use of the concert scenes means that this is never the case.
It's an inspiring story with sensational musical numbers and the Latin-pop feel of the show brings a much needed injection of sunshine as we head into another dreary British winter. Rounding the show off with a encore medley of hits is the perfect way to end the evening and is guaranteed to have the audience on their feet.
On Your Feet! is at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh until 12 October.