Last updateFri, 20 Nov 2015 4pm

Little Theatre’s ‘Stepping Out’ a sure-footed success

Most of the dancing in Lakeside Little Theatre’s production of “Stepping  Out” is absolutely terrible! And that’s exactly what director Ann Swiston intended!

The story was written to allow for the dancers to gradually improve. At first the students treat the tap classes as a social gathering, showing little co-ordination for learning to dance.  They later develop levels of skill and cohesiveness that pulls them all together.  When “The Mavis Turner Dancers” are called upon to take part in a local charity gala, they do themselves proud with their truly dazzling first public performance. 

This was all handled beautifully by choreographer Alexis Hoff. It almost seemed like the audience gradually learned the steps along with the cast, just like nervous parents at a school recital, rejoicing when it all goes right.

“Stepping Out” involves eight students, a teacher and a pianist, all from disparate backgrounds with differing motivations. Director Ann Swiston does a tremendous job of bringing all the characters to life. 

Act 1 begins in scattershot fashion as the different personalities of the tap class are revealed. Mavis, the tap teacher and former professional dancer, is played to perfection by Val Jones. Lynne, a nurse in real life, is portrayed with aplomb by Allyson de Jong. Maritza Freyslinger impressed us as Dorothy, the energetic office worker who rides her bike everywhere. Maxine, the flashy and attractive saleswoman was played with enthusiasm and skill by D’Le Beatty-Tobias. The cantankerous Mrs. Fraser, played by Judy Hendrick, does a grand job as she grumpily conveys that she is to be treated with delicacy and tact, or she won’t play the piano for the show. 

Andy, evokes our sympathy as she tries to gain self-esteem and improve, well done by Joanne Stuart. Geoffrey, the quiet widower and only man in the class, is well acted and delightfully danced by Flemming Halby. 

Choreographer Alexis Hoff is deliciously over the top as the pseudo-posh, bossy, vain and nosey Vera. Tina Leonard does a super job as the happy homemaker Sylvia who can be counted on to want a drink after class. And Curly Lieberman as Rose the bookkeeper gave a fine credible performance.

Adding to the fun of the evening was Dave McIntosh, playing the part of the caretaker, who did some amusing “shtick” while the cast made costume changes. Sherolyn Gregory and Paulette Coburn did a super job of matching the costumes to the personalities and wowed us with the glitzy finale. Even the light crew, Garry Peerless, Pierre Huot and Kevin Leitch got in the act and showered us with a range of brilliant colors displayed on the shimmering Mylar curtain.

The set by Alan Bowers and Ann Swiston was realistic and suggestive of small town dance schools.  Richard Bansbach’s construction crew “nailed” it. Karen Lee and James Jack were spot on with the sound. The dressers and makeup crews kept the cast fresh and pretty in their leggings, Lycra and leotards. And last, but far from least, stage managers Win McIntosh and Sandy Jakubek kept the show running smoothly and produced that feel good feeling that director Swiston and assistant director Candace Luciano were aiming for.  

The result? A funny show that leaves you with a warm glow. Well done everyone!

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