Book, music and Lyrics by Kevin Del Aguila, Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker
Crooms Hill, London SE18 8ES to 18 October 2014
Tues – Sat & Sun 8pm
Runs: One hour 30 mins No interval. To 18.10.14
TICKETS: 0208 858 7755
Review: William Russell, 08 10 14
Boyz will be boyz. And one of the best nights out you can imagine.
After a five year run off Broadway and touring round the world this hilarious, ever so irreverent musical has finally reached Britain, surfacing in a place the cast insist on calling – being good New Yorkers – Green Witch. Actually none of them are New Yorkers. This is the British cast, but one would never have guessed.
Directed by Steven Dexter, Altar Boyz is a gloriously witty affair which sends to high heaven a group of young evangelist singers who praise the Lord and save souls, while secretly planning to have solo careers as pop stars. The songs are tuneful, the lyrics neatly crafted and it is all rather blasphemous in the best possible taste with lots of references to Jesus and some rather chic diamante crucifixes. Think Book of Mormon, although this is good in its own right and sometimes the songs are both better and cleverer.
The boys Matthew, Mark, Luke and Juan – he is Jewish – and Abraham are beautifully contrasted. Matthew the leader, played by Liam Doyle, is the handsome one, Mark, played by Jonny Fines, is the interesting looking one who adores Matthew, Jamie-Ray Hartshorne is Luke, the forgettable one with principles, Alex Jordan-Mills is hunky Abraham, the one who suffers from stress and goes on the razzle, and Faisal Khodabukus is Juan, who is looking for his lost parents and is told where to find them on his birthday – in the cemetery.
The pretext is the Boyz are saving the souls of the audience, and a soul sensor shows their rate of success as the evening goes on. They invade the audience, dance some really slick moves, sing extremely well and each man rises to his big number with aplomb.
There is a terrific backing band under musical director Mark Crossland and it all adds up to one of the best nights out imaginable which at Greenwich prices is also more than value for money. There is a splendid riff about coveting one’s neighbour’s ass, and Mark confounds expectations in the song in which – we know he fancies Matthew – he reveals his dreadful secret in a lyric demanding the word gay. He is a Catholic.
Matthew: Liam Doyle
Mark: Jonny Fines
Luke: Jamie-Ray Hartshorne
Abraham: Alex Jordan-Mills
Juan: Faisal Khodabukus
Director: Steven Dexter
Choreography: Ewan Jones
Musical Direction: Mark Crossland
Set and Costume Design: David Shields
Lighting Design: James Smith
Sound Design: Harry Butcher and Jamie Mangan LUX Technical Ltd
Dialect Coach: Sarah Stephenson