ALEXANDRA MATTEO (portraying Stephanie Mangano) and Jacob Tischler (as Tony Manero) are the leads in the Maine State Music Theatre production of “Saturday Night Fever,” which runs through Saturday, Aug. 4. AARON FLACKE / MAINE STATE MUSIC THEATRE

ALEXANDRA MATTEO (portraying Stephanie Mangano) and Jacob Tischler (as Tony Manero) are the leads in the Maine State Music Theatre production of “Saturday Night Fever,” which runs through Saturday, Aug. 4. AARON FLACKE / MAINE STATE MUSIC THEATRE

The latest production to grace the Maine State Music Theatre, is guaranteed to, as MSMT stated in a press release, “whisk you back to the 1970s, where open shirts, bell bottoms and disco were all the rage.”

Audiences coming out to the show will enjoy ’70s music classics — “Stayin’ Alive,” “Disco Inferno” and “How Deep Is Your Love” — and the performance of leads Alexandra Matteo and Jacob Tischler.

The pair is about to create beliveable characters, something that’s not always easy to do through the filter of stylized ’70s language and Brooklynese. Tischler, in particular, has a wonderful vocal quality that gives his character some much needed depth, helping him to occasionally transcend the trap of caricature. It’s amusing to hear the character of Stephanie tell Tony “You’re a cliche,” because they are cliches inside a cliche in this show.

However, a cliche is a cliche because it’s true.

What really struck me throughout the production is the aggressive nature of the ’70s. Everything in the first minutes of the show is somehow hostile, not in the form of poor direction, but precisely because that’s what is appropriate to bring that era and environment to bear.

There’s a sense of uneasiness within the music that assails, stressful interactions between familial characters, the bellicose accent of Brooklyn natives, the bold jerkiness of the dance, the attack of color, sheen and texture in the costumes, set and lighting. It caused me to ponder, as I watched the familiar story unfold, what was happening during the ’70s that created this era in society. The tough-guy characters hang out on bridges and play Rock- Paper-Scissors for fun. A paradoxical reminder that although the late-’70s were a complicated time of turmoil, they were also a much, much simpler time.

Don’t misconstrue the collection of negative adjectives in the paragraph above, this is great production. I don’t love the plot arc, but MSMT has done their usual excellent job in execution. The dance numbers, in particular the group scenes, are great fun, and what the audience most enjoys.

The costumes are ’70s fabulousness and I could not take my eyes off Michael Buchanan as Monty in a spectacular, disjointed ensemble which made it seem like an actual ’70s disco master-of-ceremonies had been teleported in.

This show has pathos, and, thankfully, a lot of humor. I really loved the use of a turntable in the center of the stage for moving from scene to scene. There are a couple standout moments for the supporting cast, including the amazing presence and voice of Courtney Daniels as Candy, especially at the beginning of Act II, and a heartbreaking performance of “If I Can’t Have You” from Mariah MacFarlane in the role of Annette.

Sometimes light, frivolous shows have great little nuggets of wisdom. A repeated line in “Saturday Night Fever” is “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are.”

You be you, let this time capsule transport you to a very specific era, and don’t forget your Boogie Shoes.

The remaining performances are at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and the show closes with a 7:30 p.m. performance Saturday, Aug. 4.

Tickets are available online at msmt.org, by calling (207) 725-8769, or in person by visiting the Box Office located at in the Pickard Theater at Bowdoin College.

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