Tag Archives: Stepping Out

Stepping Out – 3 Stars


Stepping Out

Jack Studio Theatre

Reviewed – 21st June 2018


“There are moments where darker or more serious subjects are hinted at, which could have been pushed further”


“Remember the three T’s”, Mavis tells her class of tap dancers, prior to their first public performance. “Teeth, tits, and taps.” That’s right, it’s time to get those jazz hands out and tapping feet at the ready for the latest production of the heart-warming show Stepping Out. In an updated, 21st-century twist on the 1984 play by Richard Harris, this new version is charming and convivial, a bundle of easy-going joy to watch.

Former professional dancer Mavis teaches adult tap dancing classes every Thursday night in a grotty, north London church hall for the locals. The bumbling bunch of ladies, and Geoffrey, who regularly attend, lean more towards having two left feet than twinkle toes. And to top things off, Mavis must resolve the spats and dramas that explode between this motley crew, before any dancing can commence. Whilst the play may feature around (rather unsuccessfully) learning dance routines, it is the love, laughter, tears and tales these everyday folk share with one another that makes the audience want to keep coming back to class with them.

Christina Meehan as Mavis holds everything together wonderfully, giving a very naturalistic and earthy performance, a nice contrast to the loud, mouthy brashness of the likes of Sylvia (Jessica Brady) and Maxine (Lynn Beaumont). Emily Sitch and Sean McDowell give understated yet just as powerful turns as the quieter members of the group, Andy and Geoffrey. Whilst, Helen Jeckells as the no bars held OCD housewife Vera offers some of the best lines of comedy gold throughout the show.

The story may be rather slight, with no real dramatic plot line, but what makes this kitchen sink-style play so likeable, are the recognisable characters whom we all can associate to our own lives. It is the sense of familiarity that truly makes this a winner. There are moments where darker or more serious subjects are hinted at, which could have been pushed further, however, it must be remembered that class is a place where these characters throw away their everyday troubles and want to let loose. Consequently, with the addition of catchy classic swing band tunes and top hats and canes, you yourself will be tapping your way out of the theatre before you know it.


Reviewed by Phoebe Cole

Photography by David Ball


Stepping Out

Jack Studio Theatre until 7th July



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Stepping Out – Temporary Cast Change



The West End production of Stepping Out opens for preview performances tonight, Wednesday 1 March at the Vaudeville Theatre. The heart-warming comedy charts the lives of seven women and one man attempting to tap their troubles away at a weekly dancing class led by their ever patient teacher, Mavis.

Photo by Simon Turtle

The role of Mavis was due to be played by Tamzin Outhwaite; however in an unfortunate twist of fate, Ms Outhwaite has been forced to temporarily withdraw from the production with a stress fracture of her foot. Stepping into Ms Outhwaite’s tap shoes until she has been given the medical all clear to rejoin her friends in the production will be Anna-Jane Casey (West Side Story, Chicago and Billy Elliot), who will temporarily join the cast from next week, prior to which the role will be played by Katie Verner.

Anna-Jane Casey joins sister Natalie Casey (as bubbly Sylvia) and the previously announced Amanda Holden (as perfectionist Vera), Tracy-Ann Oberman (as the mouthy Maxine), and Nicola Stephenson (as shy Dorothy). Directed by Maria Friedman, this brand new staging of Richard Harris’s award-winning play Stepping Out which toured UK venues last year, opens in London with preview performances from tonight, 1 March 2017 and an opening night of 14 March 2017.

Further cast in the West End production of Stepping Out include Judith Barker, Jessica-Alice McCluskey, Sandra Marvin and Dominic Rowan with Janet Behan, Suzy Bloom, Emma Hook, Marcia Mantack and Nick Warnford.

Amanda Holden said:

“It is sad to lose Tamzin. It is ironic and, of course, in keeping with the theme of the show in many ways. However we can assure everyone who comes a fun and entertaining evening and we can’t wait to get started with the previews. We look forward to Tamzin returning very soon.”

This uplifting comedy originally premiered in the West End in 1984 starring Barbara Ferris and Marcia Warren, winning the prestigious Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy and enjoying extended runs both in the West End and on Broadway. Stepping Out has also been made into a musical, which became a film in 1991, starring Julie Walters, Liza Minnelli and Shelley Winters.

Presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions and the James Grant Group, Stepping Out is directed by Maria Friedman, designed by Robert Jones and choreographed by Tim Jackson with lighting design by Peter Mumford, sound design by Gregory Clarke and orchestrations by Christopher Walker.