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Boogie Nights 2 (tour)

By • West End
WOS Rating:
The original Boogie Nights delivered 1970's hits, slapstick comedy, starred Shane Ritchie and had audiences dancing in the aisles. This time the 1980's are revisited, cue jokes about Rubik's cubes, Sinclair C5s and Maggie Thatcher. Wide boy Roddy Mark Jones dies and gets the chance to learn from the greedy mistakes he has made in the Gordon Gekko era. I'm afraid that is all there is to the plot, as the rest of the piece consists of karaoke versions of well known hits.

Mark Jones plays Roddy rather like Jonathan Wilkes, constantly winking and mugging at the audience. Jon Conway's risible book and clumsy direction leaves the cast floundering. Scott Robinson formerly of the pop band Five gives the weakest performance. He shouts most of his lines and sounds like a cross between Frank Spencer and David Beckham. His vocals are also incredibly weak.

Many scenes and musical numbers are plain embarrassing and it's hard to imagine why anyone thought they would work. David Essex gamely sings "Sweet Dreams" during a rave scene with a straight face! "Eternal Flame" is sung by Sophie Lawrence during a funeral scene and instead of moving the audience provokes guffaws of laughter. You just hope it's not a cremation! The cast, themselves look awkward during this and many other 'dramatic' moments. The plot messages about greed and redemption come over as preachy and quite patronising.

Just when you think it cannot get any worse Joe Speare slaughters the hit song "Relax" whilst the dancers rub up and down his leg. Supposedly erotic, this number is vapid and sexless. Worse still, the cast are then forced to sing "Do They Know It's Christmas" for no real reason. As they sing the line "Feed The World" this "Springtime For Hitler" moment left many audience members staring at the floor, giggling in disbelief at this musical car wreck.

Well known songs are clumsily shoe horned into the narrative without any real thought of whether they will work or not. Boogie Nights 2 has one saving grace; Sophie Lawrence. She gives a spirited performance and can truly sing. But she is not enough to save this show. "Electric Dreams" is another song used to poor effect, but this show is likely to remembered as an Electric Nightmare.

- Glenn Meads (reviewed at the Palace Theatre, Manchester)


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