With so many 50s and 60s “Jukebox Musicals” doing the rounds at the moment it is refreshing to see the hits of the 70s getting a chance to be revisited; at least it would be refreshing if the show was of a better quality than this one. Sadly, although the content is quite superb, the delivery is somewhat lacking.
Underneath a tacky banner emblazoned with the show’s title, and a video screen which has seen much better days, the stage is set with a four piece band and three vocalists. From the outset it is clear that the band really enjoy what they do, their re-creation of some of the best music of the era is good and, despite being way too young to have been there the first time round, quite faithful to the original hits.
After just two numbers, “Blockbuster” by Sweet and Abba’s “Waterloo”, it is obvious that vocally is where the show crashes and burns with missed notes and bad harmonies all over the place. Putting this down to nerves, I waited eagerly for the sound to improve and the performers to show what they could do – sadly I am still waiting.
If anything, the vocals actually seemed to get worse with The Carpenters’ “Only Yesterday”and Boney M’s “Brown Girl in the Ring” probably the worst two songs in the whole production – although syncing their own dance moves to the video of “Save Your Kisses for Me”, by Eurovision song contest winners Brotherhood of Man, was another low point as it showed that their choreography is not a strong point either.
The male lead, Lee Eakins, performing amateurish impressions of David Essex, Steve Harley and Mick Jagger, spoiled what could have been a good selection of songs and, as I am being totally honest, his ill-fitting costumes didn’t help.
On the subject of costumes, the two girls in the show also need to take a much closer look in the mirror before they step back on stage. The head to toe leather catsuit / dominatrix outfit just has to go. Whereas Suzi Quatro made leather raunchy, the faux pvc outfit just looks wrong – and ladies, when wearing skimpy leotard style costumes, try and make sure that your “Granny Pants” aren’t showing.
I have struggled to find any redeeming features in a show which, in my humble opinion, should never have graduated past the local village hall, but the best I can come up with is that, during an elongated costume change, the band performed Starman by David Bowie. This proved two things – firstly that the band did a sterling job and secondly that the keyboard player, who should have featured a lot more, has a great voice.
The audience reaction seemed to develop as the show went on but I have a feeling that this was due more to the effects of the bar then the effects of the performance.