“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On …”
The 1950s - the decade in which Uruguay won the World Cup and Shirley Temple retired from showbiz (thanks Wikipedia). The decade that saw the poodle skirt and winklepickers, while musically rock ‘n’ roll came to the fore, spawned (so the programme notes helpfully inform me) from jazz, rhythm and blues, boogie woogie, folk and gospel.
It goes without saying that Rock Around The Clock is a show for 50s music lovers. There is no story to follow, just song after song after song. Six singers, eight dancers and a four-piece band make up the talented ensemble.
Ex-Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett tops the bill, but her fans may come away a tad disappointed. Not because of Pallett’s performance, but in an era dominated by male performers it is the boys who get more opportunities to shine. Jon Hawkins, Kurt Kansley, Simon Schofield and Michael Quinn twist ‘n’ shout as Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Elvis and many more. The ladies do get their moments though, Pallett and Lucy Smethurst’s songs including classics by Etta James and Connie Francis.
The vocalists are matched by the dancers, who capture the fun and vibrancy of the music with their flicks and kicks, twists and jives.
The energy and enthusiasm of the company is infectious – most of the audience clearly twitching to get up and join in a while before they actually got up the nerve to do so. But by the end the whole place was up on its feet, with cheers and cries of ‘more!’ ringing out.
If you baulk at Buddy or Presley makes you panic, then steer well clear. But if you like rock ‘n’ roll and want a night crammed full of the music, the moves and the fashions of the 50s, then this is the show for you. It’s as simple as that.