Review: Saturday Night Fever, Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at

YORK Light's Grease opened at York Theatre Royal last night; Saturday Night Fever is strutting its New York stuff this week at the Grand Opera House. What a week for John Travolta fans, as the quiff, the hip swivel and the white suit live on 41 years after the films filled cinemas for weeks and weeks in 1978.

Happy-go-lucky late-Fifties high school musical Grease is no stranger to stage productions, but this is the first time your reviewer has seen the harsher, late-Seventies' Saturday Night Fever in stage musical mode.It comes with the highest production values: veteran impresario Bill Kenwright is both the producer and director, touring the show by arrangement with the Robert Stigwood Organisation no less. Olivier Award-winning Bill Deamer is the choreography and a brilliant one at that; Gary McCann's set design required a host of delivery trucks to assemble its combination of mirrored nightclub dance floor, drop-in domestic interiors, stairways and New York skylines.

And the Bee Gees are in the show. Well, not THE Bee Gees, obviously, but Edward Handoll's Barry, Alastair Hill's Maurice and Matt Faull's Robin Gibb, in a line on the mezzanine level with their faultless harmonies, if not so faultless wigs. What an inspired decision to have the funky Gibbs on stage, a constant reminder of their extraordinary hit-writing run in the heat of the disco Seventies, Night Fever, Boogie Shoes, More Than A Woman, Jive Talkin', et al.

From the opening Stayin'' Alive, this is a fabulous song-and-dance show with all the right moves, the serious faces, the tight-fit clothes, the Italian New York energy. Indeed you might wish, in the words of that song, there was "no time to talk" but only because the music and dancing is so thrilling, led by Richard Winsor's Tony Manero, with his dead-end paint store job and dreams of dancing his way out of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn poverty and escaping his bullying father.

You may recall Winsor from three years as Caleb Knight in BBC1's Casualty, but more significantly he was Matthew Bourne's go-to dancer for breaking in the lead role in such groundbreaking dance shows as Edward Scissorhands and Dorian Gray. He may not quite match the dagger-swagger of Travolta's dangerous Tony, but he has the lithe strut, the burning impatience, the lip, the look, and the Brooklyn accent, and in or out of the white suit, he is "gorgeous", as the very impressed woman to my left asserted excitedly.

He even has a moment near the end where he sings, but it is all about the dancing, and the drama he brings to the dancing, in particular an exhilarating solo number. The story retains the frank language from John Badham's film as it heads a little uncomfortably into the darkness of rape, domestic abuse, suicide and a priest 's crisis of faith, but as with the movie you are drawn more to the songs, the dancing, the echoes of West Side Story, and in Winsor, this show is on to a winner.

Charles Hutchinson