Palace Theatre Manchester (venue)
28 October 2019 (released)
01 November 2019
First there was the musical about Carole King that was so successful that it is still doing the rounds. Now comes a new musical about the true love story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan which charts their journey from the Cuba to Miami to international stardom.
Whereas the Carole King musical, Beautiful has songs that everyone from the dustman to your local doctor knows, unless you are a die hard fan of Gloria Estefan you might not know all the songs here, whilst she was successful in this country her star shone far brighter in America.
With a 6 piece band on stage bringing the songs to life and a talented cast it is a fast moving and energetic production. The dancing is exhilarating and exciting- at times with the colourful costumes and Cuban rhythms it felt more like watching an episode of Strictly Come Dancing. Top marks to choreographer Sergio Trujillo who has done a fine job.
Philippa Stefani plays a convincing Gloria Estefan though at times the songs came over not as powerful or emotional as you remember when Gloria Estefan sings them. George Ioannides as Emillo Estefan comes across as a man trying to push their boundaries all the time to further Gloria's career from the days when the Miami Sound Machine first started and the radio stations would not play their songs, right up to worldwide stardom.
The relationship ship between the two develops into a romantic one but probably because of the length of the show the bond between them seems to be rushed too fast.
Magdalena Alberto as Gloria's controlling mother shines and we even learn that she herself was a talented performer who had to give it all up to look after raising her family.
There is even a dancing grandmother too as Karen Mann plays good hearted grandma Consuelo. She urges the young Gloria to follow her dreams and never give up.
I had forgotten about Gloria being involved in a coach crash whilst on tour that nearly left her paralysed, thankfully all is good and she comes out of the other side, it was a dark moment in what is a very uplifting show.
Yes, the hits are there such as Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Anything For You, Dr Beat, Turn The Beat Around and Get On Your Feet but in reality it is the songs and dancing that you will remember most from the musical.
The Rhythm does get you and if you are a fan you will go home happy. Even if you aren't a fan it will brighten up a dark autumn night. A word of warning: if you sit near one of the aisles you might end up dancing through the stalls with the cast doing the Conga.
It's enough to want you rushing out to buy a copy of Gloria Estefan's Greatest Hits album.
Runs until 2 November.