YOU don’t need to know your shuffle from your time step to thoroughly enjoy Salisbury Playhouse’s dazzling autumn season opener, Stepping Out.

This production of Richard Harris’s play about a group of hapless tappers challenged with putting on a show is slick, touching and very funny.

Every week seven women and one man gather in a tatty church hall for weekly tap lessons under the guidance of their long-suffering teacher Mavis.

Each has their own personal worries from financial struggles to overeating, errant husbands and unfilled dreams.

The play also touches on the darker subjects of unwanted pregnancy and domestic violence.

However, Stepping Out’s success is that the characters’ stories are told efficiently, interwoven into the hilarity of the weekly rehearsals, which means it doesn’t become bogged down in sentimentality and overlong dialogue.

With so many larger-than-life characters on the stage, standing out in Stepping Out is a challenge but Rosie Thomson as the gutsy Sylvia is truly superb with excellent comic delivery that keep the laughs coming.

Rachel Stanley gives a dynamic performance as Mavis and Amy Marston captured the frustration and pain of the troubled Andy to perfection.

Adrian Grove was suitably awkward as the bumbling Geoffrey and Elizabeth Power relished the role of the grumpy Mrs Fraser, which is a gem of a part.

The set is detailed and cleverly used and the quick changes help the show move along at a nice pace.

Stepping Out is a play with music rather than a musical, with just the one song belted out by Mavis as her dancers prepare to take to the stage.

The choreography of the two closing dances is excellent and a clever way of bringing the show to a conclusion.

Stepping Out will no doubt be loved by Salisbury’s many dance fans and could encourage more to pull on some tap shoes and attempt the cramp roll and buffalo.

But Stepping Out is not just for them, it’s a wonderful show full of entertainment, laughs and colourful characters which proves that everyone can have a little glamour in their lives.



* Stepping Out is on at Salisbury Playhouse until Saturday, October 6.