Thursday, 29 May 2014

JUKEBOX by Beeston Musical Theatre Group
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton

"Jukebox" is a celebration of music from, and influenced by the 50's and 60's, which have been featured in musicals from the last few decades. There were medleys from "Hairspray", "Summer Holiday", "Forbidden Planet", "Jersey Boys", "Shout", "Dreamboats & Petticoats" and "All Shook Up", featuring all the songs destined to get you singing and clapping, At times it was almost like surround sound!

Loved the set, which was a 50's style coffee bar, very bright and colourful and the obligatory Wurlitzer style jukebox taking pride of place.

The BMTG are a big group and with all large groups there are varying levels of singing ability and this showed, but hey, everyone up there looked like they were having fun,and as one who can't sing or dance, I have no place to criticise the odd bum note. I am in total awe of anyone who has the guts to get up on stage in front of a room full, and I do mean FULL, and perform.

There were several very strong performers though. I absolutely love the song "Timeless To Me" from the "Hairspray" medley, a song where you need to draw out the comedy element, which is what was achieved.

Loved the "Summer Holiday" section, such fun, and also Steph Gray-Blest who was truly blessed with a lovely voice, singing Connie Francis' "Who's Sorry Now". You can't go far wrong with a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons medley and "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" really got the audience singing along, just in time for the closure of Act 1.

The 60's themed musical "Shout:, which for those who don't know it uses music from the female singers from that era, kicked off Act 2 in great style and what a voice Andrea Nicolaou has; her version of Dusty Springfield's "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" brought rapturous applause from the audience, and rightly so, as did the final song in that section,"Shout".

Loved every song from the "Dreamboats" section especially the accapella version of Ritchie Valens' "Donna", led by George Lamb, who has such a strong voice, and ably backed by "The Diner Staff", and what a great bass vocalist as well.

And finally, :All Shook Up", the musical which uses the songs made famous by Elvis and everyone was on stage for a vocal slice of the pie, and again a showcase of some of the stronger vocalists. Craig Butterworth not only showing off his talented choreography for "Jukebox",but surprisingly his soulful vocal chords as well in "It's Now Or Never". There's also an amazing version of "Can't Help Falling In Love" which will send tingles down your spine.

Apart from some technical issues with the mics and at times the cast battling with the orchestra, the show achieved their celebration of some great pop classics and they had no problems getting the audience singing, clapping and swaying with every song. The scenes flowed smoothly from one musical tribute to the next and the cast were full of enthusiasm, so what's not to like?

"Jukebox" is on at the Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton until Saturday 31 May 2014, when they will all be looking for volunteers to rub lots of ointment into their aching muscles no doubt!

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