Memphis at the Shaftesbury Theatre
WELL THIS IS THE BEST SHOW IN TOWN AT THE MOMENT!
I’ve been desperate to catch Memphis ever since it opened to absolutely glittering reviews and just haven’t got round to it yet. BUT LADY LUCK OPENED HER HEART TO ME and threw me a very kind invite from the lovely folk at match.com to attend the show as part of a ‘Girls Night’. So, I grabbed my best gal pal, and away we dashed down to the Shaftesbury Theatre.
We were greeted by the friendly team from match, who pressed drinks into our hands and introduced us to Kate Taylor, their resident Online Dating expert. Kate gave us all a few pointers and tips on how to craft the perfect online dating profile that will bring all the boys to your yard in search of your milkshake. In a nutshell- have some banging selfies, a picture of you doing something interesting and write something short and witty in the description. INTERESTINGLY pictures that feature alcohol of any kind are the least successful of all. Which is a shame for me as I am not sure I have a photograph of myself that DOESN’T feature alcohol of some kind.
Profile chat over, we snuggled into our seats to watch the show. AND OH MY WHAT A SHOW! All set in Memphis (shock horror) in the 1950s, the story follows an ambitious young radio DJ who falls in love with one of the local club singers, desperate to get her lucky break into the big-time (aren’t we all love.)
And honestly, I can’t remember I last saw a show pulled off with such an infectious blend of energy, humour, guts and down right SASS. The music is just phenomenal, proper tingly, feel-good soul stuff, the choreography is WONDERFUL and I mean, I just fancied pretty much everyone on that stage. It’s very funny with some excellent comic turns, yet also manages to shock with some well placed moments. A young girl is violently struck across the face by her Father whilst she’s enjoying ‘race music’, a vicious racist attack on a woman is horrible to watch and the constant battling that the two lovers have to do to keep their relationship hidden from view is heart-breaking.
Beverley Knight leads the cast as Felicia, the powerhouse club singer, although we actually saw her alternate, Rachel John who was PHENOMENAL in her own right. OOH THE GOOSEBUMPS when she belts out Coloured Woman. Killian Donnelly plays opposite her as goofy wannabe DJ, Huey Calhoun and is just a perfect blend of awkwardness around the ladies, charming, brave and sweet with a huge dash of comic timing thrown in for good measure. The boy can whack out a good tune too, as his Act 2 title number showed. The entire cast were great to be fair with not a single weak link, though special mention must go to Jason Pennycooke as the side-splittingly funny Bobby and Rolan Bell as Felicia’s protective older brother (MAN WHAT A DEEP VOICE, OH GOOD LORRRRRRRRRRD SWOON).
It’s a frickin’, hockadoodling treat so do go and see it. AND TAKE ME WITH YOU! Such congratulations to all the Memphis cast and company on such a wonderful show, and EVEN MORE SO on your whopping nine Olivier nominations! COR! NINE!
Hockadoo, ladies and gents. Hockadoo indeed.
I was very kindly invited to attend the Memphis Ultimate Girls Night by match.com, however, if I hadn’t have had a wonderful time, I wouldn’t have written about it!