Rise above the storms and get “on your feet”!
Last night in the aftermath of Storm Dennis, and Ciara before that, my friend and I escaped to the warmer climes of Miami courtesy of the Liverpool Empire Theatre and the hit show “On Your Feet”. For those of you who don’t recognise the title track, this is a musical about Emilio and Gloria Estefan.
The story begins in the early days when Gloria was a 14 year old, helping out her mum by looking after her younger sister and caring for her dad who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis. She loves singing and eventually gets singled out by a lead singer of a boy band.
Gloria goes on to join the band and they go from strength to strength in Cuba, triumph in Miami and eventually onto international stardom. The story has plenty to accompany it, the developing love of Emilio and Gloria, the humour of Emilio’s translation amongst other things, the difficult relationship between Gloria and her mother and the brilliant Consuelo (Gloria’s grandmother).
There is true grit and determination from both Gloria and Emilio to get their music heard on a larger scale, within this battle you get an insight to the painful social and political barriers they faced. All this is played out to the music of all of their smash hits including ‘Rhythm Is Gonna Get You’, ‘Conga’, ‘Get On Your Feet’, ‘Don’t Want To Lose You Now’ ‘Dr.Beat’ and ‘1-2-3’.
The stand out from the show has to be the performances. Philippa Stefani, who played Gloria was brilliant, she manages to portray her as a shy girl struggling to dance (which for a professional must actually be hard to do!) to a phenomenal diva. Both the singing and the dancing were sublime. Paired with George Ioannides, who played Emilio, they were a great partnership on stage. Hollie Cassar , who played Consuelo on press night, was also brilliant.
To be honest, it feels unfair to highlight individual performances as the whole cast were superb. The band also needs to be mentioned. Everyone in the theatre was tapping their feet from the very start, and wait until you see the Congo through the audience – brilliant!
So, I was expecting good music, dancing, probably humour … what I wasn’t expecting were tears. I had genuinely forgotten about the terrible accident that happened to the family. The tremendous fight back begins with Gloria’s appearance on TV’s American Music Awards … which then leads to a fabulous finale which really did have everyone on their feet!
In summary, this is a family friendly show with a real story of determination accompanied by some fantastic music and dancing – perfect for a half term treat if you’re in Liverpool.
Get on your feet is on at the Liverpool Empire until Saturday 22 February, for tickets visit https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/on-your-feet/liverpool-empire/
The show is currently part of a UK (and a couple of international theatres) tour, to see if it’s coming to a theatre near you visit https://www.onyourfeetmusical.co.uk/