“Have a beer drop a time in the blind man’s jar”
Never one to look a gift-horse in the mouth, the offer of a return ticket to Memphis (the show, not the place sadly) was one I was happy to accept and I was glad for it too. The show remains a hugely impressive showcase for its cast and creatives whilst never quite engaging satisfactorily enough with its subject matter (see my original review here) but the overall effect is certainly one that is entertaining and should set the show up for a successful UK tour in 2016 after it finishes in the West End.
The main change has been the arrival of X Factor winner (and stone cold fox – who knew) Matt Cardle in the cast as Huey, replacing Killian Donnelly who has headed over to Kinky Boots. And as a musical theatre debutant, he is very good indeed, slipping into the role of the fast-talking, highly charismatic DJ with great ease, nailing an adorkable charm that is most appealing. It helps that he shares great chemistry with Beverley Knight as rising star Felicia, herself now off to the latest revival of Cats, further cementing her own MT reputation.
Jason Pennycooke, Tyrone Huntley and Rolan Bell continue to be brilliant as the men helping Felicia and Huey on their trailblazing way, Sergio Trujillo’s choreography is a vivid delight and Christopher Ashley’s direction marshals his considerable resources excellently. For me, the only slight disappointment is in David Bryan’s score which hasn’t managed that earworm thing of being catchy enough to linger in my mind long enough to for me to really fall deeply in love with the music. Still, a good time to be had in these final two weeks in London or on tour next year.