Before I get down to cases with blogging about my recent vacance to Athens I need to keep you up to speed with my theatre trips - the last was to see the revival of the Louis Jordan tribute show FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE which is again playing at it's original home at Theatre Royal, Stratford East.Ah, happy memories of the 1990 production which I saw at Stratford East in the Prompt side Box with Molloy and Miss Suzanne Golden who memorably held the show up because she didn't have a lyric sheet in her programme. I also saw it several times when it transferred to the Lyric - Guy in Rio recently reminded me that when we went to see the show on his last night in London before leaving to work in Brazil, we were seated next to Ben and Tracey from Everything But The Girl!
This time Owen and I were ensconced in the dress circle which was surprisingly not as busy as one would expect but what we lacked in punters was certainly made up for by the noise of those there - rather annoyingly at times from a large bunch of women out on a jolly.
The big selling point for me was the show again stars the rather fab Clarke Peters who wrote the book for the original production as well as co-starring as Four-Eyed Moe. Well it was twenty years ago so Clarke now plays the more reflective role of Nomax.
Nomax has been dumped by his girl Lorraine and is drinking himself into a stupor in a cheap hotel room listening to his favorite records - and wouldn't you know it - he falls into his record-player. As you do.
Once inside he encounters his musical guardian angels, the Five Guys Named Moe with their rather nifty house band, who give Nomax the schooling he deserves in getting his life back on track through the music of 1940s jazz giant Louis Jordan.
The show is an all-out fun event - the plotline is as sharp and thin as the creases on the Moe's zoot-suit trousers but with the non-stop parade of Jordan's classics such as SATURDAY NIGHT FISH FRY, CHOO-CHOO-CHA-BOOGIE, I LIKE 'EM FAT LIKE THAT, SAFE SANE AND SINGLE, CALDONIA and IS YOU IS OR IS YOU AIN' T MA BABY keep feet tapping and the spirits soaring.
If I have a criticism it's that the Moe's aren't up to the standard set by their predecessors - Kenny Andrews, Paul J. Medford (who has choreographed this production), Peter Alex Newton, Omar Okai and Clarke all gave really individual performances while today's crop seem fairly amalgomous. However Christopher Colquhoun, Horace Oliver and Ashley Campbell made a real impression. Clarke Peters was of course the star of the show as Nomax as well as giving us a great EARLY IN THE MORNING at the top of the show. After the show I had the opportunity of nabbing Clarke and finally being able to thank him for so many fine performances on stage and of course as Lester in THE WIRE and he was as charming and gracious as one could wish. What a fine man he is.
The good news is that FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE has been extended a week at Stratford East so get yourself over there by October 9th for a real good time!