Carnaby Street: The Concert Review

Carnaby Street: The Concert – Civic Theatre, Darlington

Posted by: The Reviews Hub – Yorkshire & North East


Based on an original idea by Carl Leighton-Pope


It was a bit of a shaky start to the concert as the band scampered on to the stage looking terrified. The audience then sat stony faced during the first song which was one of the original songs from Carnaby Street the Musical. The songs then jumped into a medley from the Kinks and the audience soon warmed up back on familiar ground with the music.

The Carnaby Street Band made up of Dan Smith, Mike Slader, Greg Clarke, Jake Buckley and Sandy Grigelis played song after song and tune after tune effortlessly and with real enjoyment. With multi-disciplined musicians, the keyboard player played drums, the drummer played guitar, the guitarist played Keyboards and they all sang. The only criticism of the music is that in some cases it drowned out the voices, particularly when the girls were singing. Aimie Atkinson and Lucy Hope Borne both had stunning voices that deserved to be heard, so the music could have been turned down a notch and the girl’s microphones turned up to full.

With over 30 songs from the 60’s, the show flowed through mods and rockers and flower power. The audience were enthusiastic and clapped during the first half but, with the majority of the audience of an age to have been in the disco’s and clubs dancing to the originals of these songs it was a reserved auditorium. However after the half time drink and Santogen infused ice creams, the whole place perked up and were up and dancing in the aisles and in their seats. A rather wonderful moment was when a man with downs syndrome got the chance to sing “Satisfaction” when the singer jumped off the stage to sing with him. His face radiated pure joy and it was a simple act from the singer that meant so much to the young man.

The most outstanding moments were a haunting rendition of the Beatles classic ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ and some outstanding interpretations of the songs of the iconic Dusty Springfield.

The clothes were fabulous, the staging simple with a back drop proclaiming the legend “Marquee” and the songs were well played and well sung. The band reminded us at every moment they were the Carnaby Street Band and they were part of Carnaby Street the Musical which would be back on tour in the autumn and we could buy Carnaby Street the Musical CD’s in the foyer.

If it tours in your region it’s a fun night out.

20th Century Boy Review

20th Century Boy – Empire Theatre, Sunderland

Posted by: The Reviews Hub – Yorkshire & North East


Writer: Peter Rowe

Music &Lyrics: Marc Bolan

Director: Gary Lloyd


Sensitively written by Peter Rowe, 20th Century Boy chronicles the tragically short life of glam rock star Marc Bolan, the flamboyant front man of T-Rex, from his school days through to his untimely death just before his 30th birthday.

The audience are treated to an interesting story as well as great songs – and they’re all there: ‘Metal Guru’, ‘Get It On’, ‘Ride A White Swan’, ‘I Love To Boogie’, ‘Hot Love’, ‘20th Century Boy’ plus a few that may be new to you. From Bolan’s hippy days through to the success of T-Rex and the effect on is health, the story unfolds from the point of view of his son; Rolan Bolan (Luke Bailey) who is trying to get to know his father through the eyes of those knew him best as he died when he was just two years old.

Many chunks of dialogue are built around chats to his grandmother Phyllis passionately played by Sue Jenkins with other characters conveniently pop up to fill gaps in the narrative timeline, including a wonderful gruff Yorkshire roadie who is clearly impressed because he didn’t say “f***”

Rolan’s search to get to know his father is also a ‘rite of passage’ to find himself. Living in America with his mum Gloria, who suffers from the after effects of the accident that destroyed her singing career and from the guilt that she killed Marc. Rolan doesn’t know his family, his background or simple things like his dad was still married to someone else.

Throughout the play we see England’s cultural identity, like Bolan’s, change; from the stylish mods to the hippy movement of the 60s, through to the rise of Glam and its inspirational punk attitude

Anne Vosser has expertly cast this show. Warren Sollars has captured the on stage persona of Bolan perfectly, Sollars looks, moves and importantly sounds like the man himself.

Well supported by both leading ladies, Donna Hines as Gloria Jones and Lucy Sinclair as June Child show an outstanding performance in numbers like Teenage Dream and Dandy in the Underworld where they comment on events through song. With help from Rolan and Phyllis and Tony Visconti played by the very talented Andy Coxon.

There is no weak link in the strong cast; Katia Sartini in particular shines in her dual rôle of Helen Shapiro and Chelita Secunda. With the expert direction of Gary Lloyd they bring the tale to life with the necessary grit, passion, tenderness and drama which overall shows that Bolan’s life is worthy of being made in to a musical.

Under the musical direction of Ryan Alex Farmery, the band create that bass rich deep sound so synonymous with T-Rex and live musicians are essential for this piece.

This is not just a show for fans of T-Rex and Marc Bolan. It is a touching and entertaining show that will have you reaching for some vinyl and perhaps a feather boa and some leopard print.

There are some moments that are a bit contrite and some that are a bit cheesy, but it’s a true story told sensitively and full of timeless classic songs. The show ends with a mini concert of the most well-known stuff and it’s so infectious it’s hard not to be up on your feet singing and dancing by the end.

One Man, Two Guvnor’s Review

One Man, Two Guvnor’s – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Posted by: The Reviews Hub – Yorkshire & North East


Writer: Richard Bean

Music &Lyrics: Grant Olding

Director: Nicholas Hytner


In a cross between Carry on and Pantomime we have the incredibly hilarious One Man, Two Guvnor’s. Full of physical comedy, slapstick, audience participation and breaking of the fourth wall.

Played originally in the West End by James Corden we now have Gavin Spokes filling the woollen suit of Francis Henshall, who acquires two different bosses, an upper-class twit and a young woman disguised as her recently murdered identical twin brother. His hilarious monologues to the audience about his gnawing hunger and mounting confusion somehow seem even funnier when a well-meaning member of the audience offers a sandwich. And he proves an absolute master at apparently spontaneous interaction with those members of the audience foolhardy enough to sit in the front row.

The rest of the cast are splendid, too, with especially winning work from Emma Barton, who is woefully underused in the first half but shines like a star in the second, as the busty book-keeper Dolly who tickles Henshall’s fancy; Patrick Warner as a silly-ass murderer Sydney, who comes over like a very bumbling and daft Bertie Wooster-esq character ; Edward Hancock as a hilariously pretentious young actor Alan; David Verrey as mastermind solicitor Harry and Jasmin Banks as Pauline one of the funniest and dumbest blondes it has been my privilege to encounter. Shaun Williamson is straight-faced funny as two-bit gangster Charlie ‘the Duck’ Clench and Alicia Davies is fantastically gruff as Rachel Crabbe who, for reasons too complicated to explain, spends most of the show in a Ringo wig impersonating her dead brother.

How much is scripted and how much made up on the spot isn’t clear. Some of it necessarily must change night by night given who gets grabbed, but the sense of mischief and mystery is a big part of the fun. This is especially true during a slapstick set piece that has you gasping with disbelief as the laughs still flow, through the fish, flames and foam.

One Man, Two Guvnor’s makes big physical demands of its cast. Michael Dylan, as an eighty something waiter Alfie, has an uncanny ability to bend himself backwards at a right angle, and to slide down walls. Spokes as Henshall somersaults over an armchair and catches a sweet in his mouth. His is an expansive, confident performance which holds all the pieces together; a scene in which he argues and then fights with himself, to the point of unconsciousness, is deftly done; half-ballet, half-slapstick

The music is quite wonderful, as we seated ourselves in the auditorium the band The Craze were already playing, and for every scene change they treated us to a song and an extended hand clapping set during the interval.

The show is quite frankly phenomenal. You need to see this show on its national UK tour because One Man, Two Guvnor’sis the funniest thing you will ever see, but be warned, the comedy is so physical and so fast you barely finish one laugh before you start another.