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Posts Tagged ‘Fransesca Jackson’

I’m strangely ambivalent about this show. Despite the fact rock & roll pre-dates even me, I remember the shivers of excitement when I visited Sun Studios in Memphis in 2004, thinking of the iconic recordings made in that studio. Nothing like that excitement was evident at this show, though I like the idea of it and admire the execution of it.

The show represents a moment in time when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry lee Lewis were together in the studio at a turning point. Presley had already gone to RCA, Cash and Perkins were about to defect to Columbia and Jerry Lee Lewis was newly signed by Sam Phillips, who had discovered the others who were now deserting him. They’re joined by Presley’s then girlfriend and the house band drummer and bassist. I’m not clear how much is true, but reading the programme notes and looking at the song dates, it can’t be entirely true – but what the hell, it’s an excuse to link together 22 rock & roll, country and rockabilly songs.

The performers – Robert Britton Lyons as Perkins, Derek Hagen as Cash, Ben Goddard as Lewis and Michael Malarky as Presley – are exceptional and bassist Gez Gerrard and drummer Adam Riley are a great rhythm section. Fransesca Jackson provides some of the best musical moments (Fever and I Hear You Knocking) as Dyanne. I felt sorry for Bill Ward (Corrie’s dead Charlie) as Sam Phillips, like the perennial bridesmaid lumbered with the only non musical part, but he did well in the circumstances.

When the cast freeze as a photo of the alleged event is projected, there were gasps in the audience and the final mini-concert in be-jewelled jackets with back lighting is great. On the whole though, it didn’t deliver on the excitement front, though it’s fair to say those in the audience for whom it was probably part of the soundtrack of their lives seemed to be having more fun than me – though they couldn’t be enticed to dance, despite much encouragement from the stage.

In the final analysis, its high quality tribute acts framed within the recollection of a moment in time. Not really enough to persuade you to part with £60 (I didn’t, I hasten to add) for a night in the West End.

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