REVIEW: Saturday Night Fever, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, January 6-10.

It probably wasn’t quite a Wednesday night whimper, but it certainly wasn’t the full Saturday night fever this week at the Mayflower - despite a spirited, talented cast.

Maybe part of the problem was it was just too early in the New Year, with a largely-unresponsive audience giving very little back to a company clearly pulling out all the stops. Partly also there’s something seen-that-before about the musical’s tried-and-trusted tale of a boy who just wants to dance as he struggles to overcome all sorts of social and financial disadvantages.

Which is why, more than ever, the show needed the music to lift it above the ordinary. Sadly it didn’t. The mixing was awful, the singers drowned at every turn by the instruments around them and behind them. Tragedy should have been a high spot. Instead, it was a tragedy... We could see his lips moving, but otherwise this was effectively the instrumental version we were getting.

Generally the female singers fared better; the chaps, however, failed to compete with their own band.

Danny Bayne gave it plenty of swagger and some terrific moves in the John Travolta role, but something somewhere simply seemed against it on Wednesday, not least a wailing baby at the back of the auditorium that bizarrely no one seemed prepared to do anything about.

The show was determined to tackle some heavy-weight issues, but mostly it fell fairly flat. The sparkle wasn’t there. As for the fever, it was barely a mildly-raised temperature.

Phil Hewitt