Note: This review will be written from the perspective of a general audience member, as I was on the 8th June at The Curve in Leicester, not from a theatre critic.
I've been to see a few musicals in my time, but not that many to be considered fully experienced in them, but the ones I have seen are ones that have been cherry-picked due to musical tastes. On Your Feet! is an example of one of those; a jukebox musical featuring the various hits of Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. I've grown up with their music to an extent and it evokes memories of my parents' holidays to Florida perfectly. This musical therefore, even before going, had high expectations and in short, they were met exactly.
On Your Feet!, I'm certain, will be characterised as one of the feel-good musicals of the year and to be honest, it's easy to see why. The choreography and dance routines are absolutely fantastic and there's a myriad of them to enjoy, with each one bringing its own little piece of Latin passion and fire. With a minimalistic set too, those dance routines acted as some well-thought-out interludes whilst members of the cast and crew were preparing for the next scene.
The story, despite being described as one of great love, wasn't too overpowering and didn't take control of the musical, which was a rather nice touch. It was more about the stable union of Gloria and Emilio and there's only certain moments where their love and falling for one another takes centre stage - the restaurant scene involving Emilio's deception about his birthday to get a kiss from Gloria was the only real 'loved up' moment, I felt. Both Christie Prades as Gloria and George Ioannides as Emilio complemented each other wonderfully and their on-stage chemistry felt real and very much tangible.
In addition, the supporting cast playing both Gloria's mother (Madalena Alberto) and Consuelo (Karen Mann) work well together and what's more, there is this genuine feel of a tight family unit, especially with Gloria's father suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. This forms a basis of part of the story and the somewhat frosty relationship between Gloria and her mother. The character of Consuelo is a particular highlight of the supporting cast, taking centre stage at various points in the show, whilst also providing valuable injections of humour that work perfectly and are very well-timed.
The live band present aided in creating a truly fantastic atmosphere. By the show cultivating a proper feel-good feeling, it's hard not to have a gleaming smile on your face by the end. I get the immediate sense that this musical will become one of the West End's summer hits due to its overwhelmingly positive feelings and story that takes its twists and turns, putting obstacles into front of both Gloria and Emilio. The show presents this wonderful feeling overall and you leave the theatre feeling all revitalised and energised. I think it's the sense of the Latin music that does this, but it could be a tremendous combination of both the music and overall setting. Either way, On Your Feet! is guaranteed to get you up dancing!
The West End run starts tomorrow (Friday 14th June) at the London Coliseum and runs till the 31st August and then goes on a nationwide tour of theatres, so I would highly recommend you go and see what is guaranteed to be one of the best musicals of the year!