Over a decade age, American star Clarke Peters created a new show based on the music of Louis Jordan. Directed and choreographed by Charles Augins, Five Guys Named Moe bounced onto the stage at the West End's Lyric Theatre and enjoyed a five year run before transferring to Broadway.
Now the double Olivier award-winning and twice Tony-nominated show is back in the UK for a 20-city national tour.
Augins is again at the helm and has assembled an experienced company of Moes (five out of the tour's cast of six have been in the show before), who jump out of lonely Nomax's jukebox and give him advice on life and love.
Poor Nomax, played by Colin Roy, is sitting early in the morning with no money and a girlfriend who has just walked out. This guy's got the blues big time. Cue the arrival of the five Moes and a galaxy of songs, mostly by Jordan, ranging from the bluesy "Early In The Morning", through country-inspired "Safe Sane and Single", to Jordan's first million seller, "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby", which for me is the powerful harmonious highlight of the piece.
The Moes are decked out in colourful suits against a simple yet effective set, designed by Tim Goodchild, while Kevin Fitzsimmons' six-piece band is a triumph.
There's an abundance of energy and infectious charm emanating from all the Moes - Delroy Atkinson, Julian Cannonier, Paul Hazel, Marvin Springer and Tee Jaye - and the overall feel of this joyous spectacle is one that can't fail to make the feet tap and the face smile.
The musical numbers are catchy and by turn comical and emotional, while the dance routines only need that little extra polish which will surely come as the tour progresses. By the end of the night, all of the audience are on their feet.
And if you've ever wanted to join an interval conga heading for the theatre bar, book your ticket now and let the good times roll!
- Elizabeth Ferrie (reviewed at Leicester's Haymarket Theatre)