REVIEW: Rock Around the Clock

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Rock Around the Clock* (Theatre Royal, Brighton, *until Saturday, August 27th*)

There’s energy and enthusiasm a-plenty at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, with the foot-tapping and colourful 50s tribute *Rock Around the Clock, *a* *non-stop trawl through true Rock and Roll classics.

The show storms its way through the decade’s musical delights courtesy of six fine singers, a tireless troupe of eight dancers and some fantastic musicians and it’s no surprise that everyone is on their feet clapping, dancing and singing along by the end of the evening.

It’s the sort of jukebox cruise liner fare that pleases easily, and fans of the era will certainly not be disappointed - though there’s every chance they will leave exhausted thanks to director/choreographer Neil Dorward’s lively and relentless production values!

Jerry Lee Lewis (a memorable wide-eyed and manic performance from Will Mulvey), Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (with superb solo in this and Unchained Melody from Ben Fitzpatrick), Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly (well sung by a versatile Jamie Capewell, who also cut a fine dash in both Gene Vincent and Elvis sections), Connie Francis, the Platters and Fats Domino (a terrific performance from AnDre Washington), are all among the acts lovingly remembered in this fizzing festival of memories.

The girls (Kelsey Cobban and Sarah Accomando) don’t have quite so much to get their teeth into, but shine when they do - such as in Lipstick on your Collar, Stupid Cupid and the powerful ballad At Last.

With such numbers as Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog, and Yakety Yak in the selection it’s a shame the opportunity wasn’t taken to pay tribute to Rock and Roll songwriting legend Jerry Leiber, who died on Monday - even a brief mention would have been fitting.

But it is great to hear such a vast collection of songs painting such a nostalgic picture of a definitive and defining musical era and still having the ability to get the crowds twisting and jiving their way down Memory Lane.

David Guest