Step back to the Seventies and sizzle with Curve’s 21st anniversary production of Hot Stuff. Born in 1992 at the Haymarket (and Curve’s predecessor), this musical has now come of age and is as familiar to Leicester audiences as a certain brand of crisps and the Clock Tower.
Hot Stuff is not a show to take seriously. If you want sequins, six packs and song after song from the Seventies’ archives then this is definitely for you. I won’t dwell on plot as the show isn’t about that – suffice to say Lucy Fur (a cheeky Ceri Dupree) lures Joe Soap (Curve regular Jason Denton) away from his sensible girlfriend Julie (Ngo Ngofa) to sign a pact with the Devil and embark on a journey into sin.
Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff makes a spectacular opening number as lighting rigs glide into place leaving the stage as one big dancefloor. Locations are signified by imaginative use of a giant circular screen high above the stage representing everything from the entrance to Hell, a disco ball and Outer Space.
There is a saying that the Devil gets all the best tunes and, in this case, Lucy Fur gets all the best lines as she plays with the audience – avoid the front row if you don’t want to be singled out for some gentle teasing. Dupree’s costumes are fascinating: concoctions of colour, feathers and faux fur topped and tailed with gravity-defying wigs and increasingly dangerous looking shoes.
And the songs just keep on coming, the small cast of eight belting them out whilst executing exhausting dance routines and split second costume changes. The whole cast is strong, however, highlights are Ngo Ngofa’s effortless transformation from a frenzied Nutbush Tina Turner to a silky Gladys Knight and controlled force of Gloria Gaynor. Stephen Webb as The Boss also impresses as he works some pretty serious flares whilst letting rip with glam rock anthems and power ballads.
Lighting Designer Chris Ellis clearly left no lightbulb unturned with a dazzling array of effects and it wouldn’t be a Paul Kerryson production without a montage of images; this time Arnim Friess has put together a nostalgic tour around Leicester in 1977 when the story is set.
The punk and 80s elements don’t work as well, seeming a little out of sync with the ‘whole’ and the Christmas song left me confused – maybe another song could replace this out of the festive season.
However, Ceri Dupree is a dream and, with echoes of the Rocky Horror Show, Hot Stuff is certainly saucy, oozing double entendres at every opportunity. But it is also great fun and true to tradition everyone is up on their feet and boogieing to the closing numbers.
So how about some Hot Stuff? Yes please!
Hot Stuff is showing from 20 April to 26 May. For more information and to book tickets visit www.curveonline.co.uk or phone the Box Office on 0116 242 3595.