Brilliant singer/guitarist and versatile entertainer Joe Brown has collaborated with Brit Nashville star Roger Cook to break new ground among tribute musicals. Their show in development features fifties music and the hits of skiffle luminaries Lonnie Donegan and Nancy Whisky, but they have also created a fresh score of eight haunting ballads and narrative songs, given voice in this delightful showcase evening, mingling youth with maturity.
Brown’s daughter Sam, with a jazz/rock vocal and keyboard talent to die for, solos on Doreen and duets with Daddio (Brown) in Not So Long Ago and The Father of You (sure to bring a tear to the eyes of doting male parents), all of which should become instant hits on the cast album.
The silky smooth upbeat voice of Molly Marriot is a delight in Don’t You Know, and she shares a luscious dreamy duet with Mark Read, both potential star material. He also has an evil rock number Everybody Calls Me Flash, a la Elvis, sending the Theatre Royal audience into rock raptures, plus a comic melodic exchange with Cook as his droll papa who foresees his tearaway son called up for the army.
But this stage show and the upcoming musical is primarily a celebration of an era, with dozens of covers, including Read’s dazzling rendition of Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally, Rock Island Line by The Bruvvers, Sam on Bessie Smith’s Please Mr Judge, Marriot’s Sweet Lovin’ rock and Joe Brown’s scintillating ukulele finale, prompting a standing ovation at the close of a glorious evening. Catch it if you can.