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July 2015

Stepping Out by Richard Harris

By Jon Mareno - Friday July 24th, 2015
(reproduced by kind permission of
the Isle of Wight County Press)


BILLED as a comedy with two left feet, Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society put their foot in it with their woefully unfunny production of Stepping Out.

Set in a church hall, a weekly adult tap class is run by an ex-professional dancer.

Her pupils, a ragbag ofseven women and a geeky insurance salesman, With different backgrounds and reasons for taking up tap, were introduced as awful dancers,

I thought this offered an interesting way into a story. I was wrong.

The writer, Richard Harris (not the hellraising Irish actor), literally lost the plot. It didn't have one, unless you call an offer they get to perform at a charity show, a plot.

I began to wonder if a tale would emerge and was still wondering at the interval.

Too much time elapsed between the awful rehearsal scenes and there were several prompts. None of that would have mattered if something had actually happened.

The practice sessions, with the relationship and interaction of different people, should have been the focus.

But the characters seemed content to bicker or insult each other and when personal problems, such as domestic violence, leaked into conversations, nobody took it up.

The cast carried on gamely but I felt a lack of on-stage chemistry between them.

I didn't know why the audience had to sit through scene after scene. of awful choreography and why Harris's one dimensional characters were not improving with practice.

Thankfully, it all ended with a completely improbable finale of almost flawless tap dancing the first time I was entertained all evening.


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