The 20th-anniversary revival of Clarke Peters’ joyous cabaret show is graced once again by Peters himself, taking a break from his own worldwide fame generated by The Wire on television. Peters plays sad old Nomax, hitting the bottle and missing his woman, when he’s sucked through the record player and thrust into a jukebox musical of Louis Jordan’s jazz and blues songs.
The show’s a metaphor for the healing power of good music. Maybe that’s enough. But the weakness in Paulette Randall’s production remains the same: a lack of any forward drive in a non-existent story. Surely Nomax should at least be transformed, or transfigured, more spectacularly by the end?
Still, on the level of “party-time”, it’s pretty good, the Underbelly underpinned by Cameron Mackintosh and co-producing with the place where it all started, Stratford East, to provide a good onstage musical sextet and a super line-up of Moe-monikered dudes in snappy suits and harmonies so close they hurt.
NOTE: The above review dates from August 2010 and this production's
original run in the Udderbelly Pasture at the Edinburgh Fringe. Five Guys Named Moe ran in Edinburgh from 4-29 August 2010.