With characters called Jude, Penny Lane and Wild Thing there’s no mistaking where we’re headed, London, or more precisely Soho in the swinging sixties.
Scouser Jude (Matthew Wycliffe) arrives in Soho with only a guitar and good friend Penny Lane (Verity Rushworth) for company.
With a headful of dreams and a pocket full of nothing he meets Jack (Aaron Sidwell) a ducking-and-diving, likeable young fixer who’s determined he’s the man who can help Jude hit the big-time. After finding love with Jane (Tricia Adele-Turner) (although a smooth ride it isn’t), Jude starts to achieve his dreams, making inevitable sacrifices along the way as fame and fortune beckon.
Writer and producer Carl Leighton-Pope’s keenness to include so many hits from the period leaves the audience a bit lost in Act 1 when it comes to character development. Just as we’re starting to get a feel for the characters so begins another song, leaving us a little desperate for some dialogue. The majority of which in Act 1 comes from Al (Gregory Clarke) a newspaper seller who walks across the stage after each number calling out the headlines, some jokes, some genuine headlines of the day and luckily for the audience some commentary on the storyline.
It’s rare on a Monday night to see a whole audience on their feet dancing away to Mustang Sally and shouting for more.
Act 2 sees the storyline develop and the chosen songs are given the meaning they deserve. Tricia Adele-Turners performance of Anyone Who Had a Heart is goose bump inducing, a performance both Dionne Warwick and Cilla Black would have been proud of.
Matthew Wycliffe plays the perfect pop star, charismatic and likeable with a silky voice. Likewise Verity Rushworth is a fab addition to the cast, warm, witty and full of energy she gives a great performance. Special mention must go to Aaron Sidwell the cheeky chappy who’s story the show is based on, he opens and closes the show and gives a strong performance throughout.
The cast give so much energy that by halfway through Act 2 you’ve forgotten about the earlier lack of character development and get swept up with the rest of the toe tapping, hand clapping audience. It’s rare on a Monday night to see a whole audience on their feet dancing away to Mustang Sally and shouting for more. The enthusiasm of the cast in particular the flamboyant Lily (Paul Hazel) fashion designer and owner of a local boutique is amiable, camping things up to the delight of the audience and by the finale the hard-working cast have won over the audience who are twisting and shouting like they were born to be wild.