It’s one thing to go on the telly and put your butterfly cakes up for review by Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood, and the world. Try donning ballet pointes and getting through a double pirouette (especially after you’ve eaten all that cake…) The Big Leap, the new family drama series from Disney+, works a heap of magic with this premise. Taking people like you and me from all walks of Detroit, and giving them the chance to turn their story into audience-electrifying dance greatness, it is a story to lift our battered times.
We escape the travails of 2021 into the lives of breast cancer survivor Paula (Piper Perabo), former factory worker Mike (Jon Rudnitsky), and the college dance star Gabby (Simone Recasner, who will also be in the ascendant after her pitch-perfect performance here), as they’re taken from unknowns to heroes in a new production of Swan Lake. The inimitable Lucy Mangan in the Guardian says “I do not know how you defy the odds, the mood and the global direction of travel towards hell in a new-variant handcart in order to make an uplifting, joyful, uncynical show that is still funny, but the good people behind The Big Leap have managed it.”
“The scenery must be delicious, because Scott Foley won’t stop chewing it while playing the Machiavellian mastermind”, according to Inkoo Kang in the Washington Post. “Recasner steals every scene as a single mom and heavier dancer who grounds the tartly sweet drama with her hope against hope that America can finally see someone who looks like her as a star.” Matthew Gilbert in the Boston Globe is clapping this show: “After about 10 minutes, I was fully onboard, despite the flaws and the overreaches, and ready for more.”
Must will be in the audience for the rest of this one, and expecting a second season before too long.
First shown December 2021.