The Lowry, 20-21 September 2012

Blues Brothers Live – A Tribute is not a re-telling of the film. It’s important to remember this as some people (not necessarily this reviewer) may spend the first few songs waiting for a storyline to kick in. They shouldn’t, because once you accept the tribute act element of Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook’s production, it’s actually a pretty enjoyable show.

When Jake (David Brown) and Elwood (Joshua Mumby) bound onto the stage for a moment it really appears to be Dan Akyroyd and John Belushi grabbing the microphones. They tackle the all singing all dancing numbers like ‘Do you love me’ with the same off-the- wall mannerisms. Meanwhile, Nathanial Morrison is given the near impossible task of imitating some of the greatest soul and jazz singers that ever lived and manages to pull it off with successful impressions of both Ray Charles and Cab Calloway. His James Brown, complete with the splits, raises the roof. A great seven-piece band made up of talented and enthusiastic musicians makes sure this show is all about the music.

There are a couple of weak points, mainly in the female backing singers’ voices and it’s a shame they weren’t able to find a convincing Aretha Franklin as her ‘Think’ is one of the best bits of the film. It also felt like it would belong better in a more open and relaxed space, instead of the upright seating of the Quay theatre.

This is a joyous show that really captures the spirit of the Blue’s Brothers. Most of the audience stood up and danced at the final rendition of ‘Shake a tail feather’ and even this reviewer was clapping along.

- Joanna Ing