HOLD ON, dev Andy Hay & Kwame Kwei-Armah. Belgrade Coventry & tour.

Coventry

HOLD ON, devised by Andy Hay and Kwame Kwei-Armah
Belgrade/ Bristol Old Vic/ Gala Theatre joint prod, on tour
Runs: 2 hours, one interval
Review: Rod Dungate, 29th August 2001, Belgrade Theatre

Soul Music is alive and kicking in this Soul Music revival

Ruby Turner is fabulous in this Soul Music compilation show revival. Ruby
Turner has a big personality and a beautiful, expressive voice to match. She
provides some fine stomping numbers throughout and demonstrates a sassy
humour that never misses its target. Yet she possesses a generosity in her
performance that enables other actors space to shine so that HOLD ON is
never a one-woman vehicle.

HOLD ON has just about enough story, devised by Andy Hay and Kwame
Kwei-Armah, to join the songs together. Rufus (Peter Straker) is making a final
bid for stardom with his All Souls Star Band when he has to take a last minute
replacement into his backing ‘girls’, Orletta (Ruby Turner). Rufus wants to
stick with his 60s music while Orletta wants to bring it more up to date and
present the women with a voice too. No surprises here, the women win the
day.

However, its not the story in this show that touches the soul, it’s the
music. And touch the soul it does, good and proper.

Early on in the first half there’s a terrific duet, witty and high in energy as
Orletta teaches backing group member Pepsi how to move on stage, ROCK
STEADY. Pepsi, pastor’s daughter desperately trying to appear street-wise is
charmingly played by Dawn Michael who brings a welcome moment of
quietness in the second half as she sings and accompanies herself in MANY
RIVERS TO CROSS (Turner adds a lovely descant to the closing verse.)

Chauvinist Rufus is a rather entertaining and likeable rascal in Peter
Straker’s performance, though we can well believe he’d drive you up the wall.
GIVE ME A TICKET (FOR AN AEROPLANE) is one of his best numbers.

It’s a pity we have to wait till the end for Turner and Straker to really sing
together, but the wait’s well worthwhile. The best is truly left till the end with
MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO GEORGIA and BOOGIE WONDERLAND. Soul, I’m happy
to say, is well alive and kicking.

Cast:
Orletta: Ruby Turner
Rufus: Peter Straker
Julie: Jacqui Boatswain
Maylika: Veronica Hart
Pepsi: Dawn Michael
Ronnie: Mary Pearce
Bossy (MD): Bosede Are

Director: Andy Hay
Choreographer: Karen Bruce
Music Director John O’Hara
Design: Mick Bearwish
Lighting: Tim Streader
Sound: Wayne Barker

2001-08-30 10:32:24

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