CARNABY STREET: The Musical
by Carl Leighton-Pope original songs by James Hall.
Hackney Empire 291 Mare Street E8 1EJ To 14 April.
7.30pm Mat Sat 2.30pm Sun 5pm.
Then tour to 29 June 2013.
Runs 2hr 40min One interval.
TICKETS:0208 985 2424.
Review: William Russell 10 April.
Wideboys and mini skirts.
Tuppence-coloured and brash, this is yet another of those nostalgia-drenched compilation shows in which songs of the past are tagged on to a minimal plot line. The title promises a lot, but the show has next to nothing to do with Carnaby Street in its heyday other than that some of the action takes place in the Marquee Club round the corner.
The plot, the standard one about would-be pop star from the regions who gets his chance, gets a big head, is exploited by a ruthless impresario, and comes to his senses just in time, is narrated by his manager, an incompetent but likeable chancer. It has been directed briskly by Bob Tomson, and the cast, led by Aaron Sidwell as Jack the wide-boy who claims to have discovered Jude, the pop idol from Birmingham (Matthew Wycliffe) give it their not-inconsiderable all.
Wycliffe sings splendidly, Sidwell, in a series of tight little sixties suits, makes an agreeable rogue and Verity Rushworth, as the singer’s friend and Tricia Adele-Turner as the posh bird who falls for him are every bit as good. There are also nice turns from Paul Hazel as a very camp clothes-shop owner, Hugo Harold-Harrison as the nasty impresario, and Mark Pearce as the other man in the band doomed to be ditched.
The script, however, is frequently dire and one feels for Gregory Clarke, playing a news vendor, who gets to cross the stage at intervals delivering one liners intended to set the period and the scene. They fall flat and it is not his fault.
However the music is terrific, the original songs slot in painlessly, the performances musically work well – acting is not really required of anyone – and when it is all over there is one of those everyone-sings-a-song routines which gets the audience on its feet.
We have been here before, but there is no harm in going back to the world of transistor radios, mini-skirts, coffee bars and kinky boots, although today’s young do not look like their equivalents did in the sixties. I know. I was there. Somebody should have had a pink canvas shirt and pastel-coloured safari-suit to wear (Vince from head to toe). And what – no Cuban heels? However it does swing.
Penny Lane: Verity Rushworth.
Jack: Aaron Sidewell.
Jude: Matthew Wycliffe.
Jane: Tricia Adele-Turner.
Al: Gregory Clarke.
Arnold: Hugo Harold-Harrison.
Lilly: Paul Hazel.
Wild Thing: Mark Pearce.
Keith: Craig Anderson.
Chris: Jonny Bower.
Chris: Tom Connor.
Alicia: Lilly Howard.
Debs: Cici Howells.
Stu: Claude Pelletier.
Cynthia: Katie Pritchard.
Tommy: Dan Smith.
Mike: Matthew Quinn.
Dave: Mike Slader.
Pheobe: Lauren Storer.
Director: Bob Tomson.
Lighting: Nick Richings.
Sound: Ben Harrison.
Musical Arranger/Supervisor: Colin Cattle.
Choreographer: Carole Todd.
22-27 April 7.30pm Mat Wed & Sat 2.30pm Pavilion Rhyl 01745 330000 www.rhylpavilion.co.uk
29 April– 4 May 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm White Rock Theatre Hastings 01424 462288 www.whiterocktheatre.org.uk
7-11 May 8pm Mat Thu 2.30pm; Sat 4.45pm Theatre Royal Windsor 01753 853888 www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk
14-18 May 7.30pm Mat Wed & Sat 2.30pm Assembly Hall Theatre Tunbridge Wells 01892 530613/532072 www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk
20-25 May 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm Opera House Manchester 0844 871 3018 www.atgtickets.com/shows/carnaby-street/opera-house-manchester/
27 May-1 June 7.30pm Mat Wed & Sat 2.30pm Marina Theatre Lowestoft 01502 533200 www.marinatheatre.co.uk
3-8 June 7.30pm Mat Wed & Sat 2.30pm Alexandra Theatre Birmingham 0844 871 3011 www.atgtickets.com/shows/carnaby-street/new-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/
10-15 June 7.30pm Mat Wed & Sat 2.30pm Alban Arena St Albans 01727 844488 www.alban-arena.co.uk
25-29 June 7.30pm Mat Wed & Sat 2.30pm Pavilion Theatre Bournemouth 0844 576 3000 www.bic.co.uk