I made my very first trip to the Lantern Arts Centre near Wimbledon to see their production of Stepping Out, a comedy by Richard Harris that enjoyed tremendous success in the eighties. It follows a group of very different women (and one man) who attend a weekly tap class at their local church hall (the Lantern Arts Centre, as a Methodist Church, is an ideal venue for the production). They face trials of their own and personality clashes while attempting to rehearse for a local show, and the play is about how they learn to get along and grow during the course of the show.
Knowing that the production was an amateur one, I really wasn’t expecting much. However, I was very impressed with the cast, who I thought did a great job. I particularly liked the actress playing Andy, who was utterly convincing as a shy and timid woman for whom dancing was a rare escape from family responsibilities.
I thought the play was warm and funny, with likeable and sympathetic characters, and I found myself rooting for them all throughout the show. However, I thought there were too many issues raised that were not resolved: one character’s issue in particular was mentioned once and never referred to again. I would have liked some more answers to my questions. The ending seemed rather rushed, as if the playwright suddenly realised he was running out of time and had to wind things up.
That said, it was certainly an uplifting ending, and it was lovely to see the characters grow in confidence – and dancing ability – throughout the play – a fantastic effort from the performers, who I can’t imagine were professional tap dancers. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and would definitely be interested in seeing future shows at the Lantern Arts Centre.