A brand new musical chronicling the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan is brought to sparkling life on the Hippodrome stage. On Your Feet is a jukebox biopic, showcasing Estefan’s rise to fame, through the highs and the lows.
In a nutshell it’s an entertaining night out. Featuring Estefan’s back catalogue, the music erupts in spectacular style on stage, with a fantastic band under musical direction of Danny Belton coupled with an exceptionally talented ensemble.
Philippa Stefani as Gloria Estefan and George Ioannides as Emilio Estefan oozed charisma, as the talented pair of lovers. You could not mistake their chemistry on stage and they both showcased superb vocal talent. Stefani embodied Estefan excellently, whilst Ionannides made for a strapping Emilio. Their relationship very much led the storyline, but there were brilliant characters we met along the way, including the indomitable Karen Mann as Consuelo. She brought so much warmth and laughter to the stage, she was a joy to watch. Meanwhile, Madalena Alberto was a force to be reckoned with as Gloria’s mother, Gloria Fajardo. As she watches her daughter achieve what she could only dream of, we uncover how she yearned to be a star. Alberto was in great voice, hitting notes that made the spine tingle. It was a poignant and well measured portrayal of a loving, sometimes misunderstood Mother.
Some moments felt glossed over, the loss of her Father and Grandmother seem to take a backseat in the narrative, yet they are characters the audience build a rapport with. Whilst other moments are dealt with tenderly, following the awful crash Estefan was involved in, Emilio reconciling with her Mother is beautiful, culminating in the emotionally charged duet ‘If I Never Got To Tell You’ - which was written especially for the show by Gloria Estefan and her daughter Emily.
Despite this, the overall production appeared polished, with a dynamic set design from David Rockwell, which thoughtfully integrated the band. Whilst the lighting pulsed to the Cuban-fusion rhythms courtesy of Kenneth Posner. Sergio Trujillo’s outstanding choreography lit up the stage, with each cast member expertly executing the dances. With overall direction from Jerry Mitchell (known for directing the likes of Legally Blonde) there is a simplicity to the story that makes it an easy-going night at the theatre.
By the end of the evening the audience were literally up on their feet, dancing in the aisles and judging by the title – that’s what Estefan would want!
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