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Suffolk News reviews Stepping Out at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, performed by the Irving Stage Company





The Irving Stage Company brought their latest offering Stepping Out to the Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds, on Wednesday evening.

Written by Richard Harris, the comedy tells the story of a group of seven women and one man learning to tap dance.

The tale is a simple one, under the watchful eye of teacher Mavis and formidable pianist Mrs Fraser, the group are nervously preparing for their first performance.

Irving Stage Company's production of Stepping Out is at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until May 11. Picture: Andy Abbott
Irving Stage Company's production of Stepping Out is at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until May 11. Picture: Andy Abbott

Each week the characters give a glimpse into the struggles of their everyday lives, ranging from the challenges of parenting - to suffering in unhappy relationships.

Immediately I could tell they were people I could relate to, the good bits and the bad.

Director Sian Couture, who gave a sparkling performance as busybody Vera, should be commended for her attention to detail.

Sian Couture directed the show and played Vera. Picture: Andy Abbott
Sian Couture directed the show and played Vera. Picture: Andy Abbott

Anyone who has ever been in a sports team or attended an exercise class will appreciate all the little touches.

Sylvia warming herself on the radiator, the group freaking out because the teacher was late and of course lots of discussion about where to put the fan.

The chemistry between the nine characters felt very real, the odd niggling arguments mixed with real care and affection.

Hayley Nunn as Maxine brought warmth and sassiness and I could absolutely emphasise with her using her weekly dance class as therapy.

Hayley Nunn as sassy Maxine was a really relatable charachter. Picture: Andy Abbott
Hayley Nunn as sassy Maxine was a really relatable charachter. Picture: Andy Abbott

Suffolk News’s Camille Berriman made the role of Sylvia her own, with bags of personality and confidence.

I apologise to the boy in front of me for laughing so loudly it made him jump.

I watched the show alongside my sister who is not a regular theatregoer and before the show I was a bit worried about what she would think of it.

Stepping Out, written by Richard Harris, is at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until May 11. Picture: Andy Abbott
Stepping Out, written by Richard Harris, is at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until May 11. Picture: Andy Abbott
Irving Stage Company's production of Stepping Out is at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until May 11. Picture: Andy Abbott
Irving Stage Company's production of Stepping Out is at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until May 11. Picture: Andy Abbott

Needless to say she loved it and we both agreed it was like a sitcom you would watch at home, when you want to relax and lift your spirits.

The show was comparable to Calendar Girls, Fat Friends and Dinnerladies - relatable characters showing the comedy in everyday life.

At the end of Stepping Out the Cast got a rousing round of applause and quite a few cheers from me.

Stepping Out was packed with real, comedy characters like Mrs Fraser, played by Sally Boulter Picture: Andy Abbott
Stepping Out was packed with real, comedy characters like Mrs Fraser, played by Sally Boulter Picture: Andy Abbott

Just like my favourite comedy shows I would watch it again if I could.

Stepping Out is at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, Thursday-Saturday, May 9-11, evenings at 7.30pm, Saturday matinée at 2pm. Call 01284 769505 or visit www.theatreroyal.org

The Irving Stage Company’s next show is Guys and Dolls, which they will be performing at the Theatre Royal in November.