A clash of personalities, Richard Harris’s Stepping Out is a comedy that isn’t afraid to treat its characters seriously. The characters are both well written and also brilliantly realised. Each lady and Geoffrey – the cast constituting only a single male role in a total of eight onstage characters – has an impressively consistent repertoire of unique mannerisms that flesh out the dancers (and Mrs Fraser) as individuals.
Long after the performance, audience members will remember specific dance students from Stepping Out for the smallest of things: Lynne for the subtle expression of absolute concentration she adopts as she watches herself dance in the mirror; Dorothy for her ridiculous bobble hat; Vera for… well, it would be hard to forget Vera. Isabella Rogers excels at playing the prim and proper micromanager who delivers lines with so little tact that the audience regularly find their hands flying to their mouths.
EUTC’s production is well cast with great costuming, good hair and make-up and a set design that displays a keen eye for detail. Little, non-instrumental inclusions – such as a number of haphazardly placed post-it notes – create real atmosphere An exception to the generally well-applied make-up is the heavy frown-line wrinkle painted on Lorna Treen’s (Mrs Fraser) forehead. The big, dark, horizontal mark is somewhat distracting and Treen’s hair, costume and – crucially – performance, is together easily enough to give her a strong air of curmudgeonly seniority.
In student productions it is often very difficult to communicate the intended ages of a show’s characters owing to students within a restricted age bracket making up the entirety of the cast. However, the performances are, on the whole, strong enough to indicate how old each character is, with the context becoming increasingly clear as the plot unfolds.
Photo: Amy Bruning