Who has not seen The Blues Brothers movie? Released in 1980, it was shown continuously for years at the Screen on Baker Street, and is a cult classic. So how does the stage show compare?
Well, it is not a remake of the movie in the form of a West End musical. The Cabaret Theatre at the Hippodrome, off Leicester Square, seats 230, but cannot put on a large-scale production. The Hippodrome is largely a casino, after all. But you will be taking no risk if you go to The Blues Brothers here. Is it a great show? You betcha!
It is actually a concert, featuring most of the classic songs from the movie, and some extra Sounds of the Sixties besides. The seven-piece band are described in the blurb as “the tightest rhythm and blues band in the city”, and that seems no exaggeration. The singers playing Jake and Elwood bear an uncanny resemblance to John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, while the other singers do brilliant work in the personae of Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin and James Brown. The choreography is scintillating, and even the enormous bulk of the John Belushi character tripped the light fandango on the stage!
In the second half of the show, the audience could no longer resist the urge to get to their feet and shake their asses. Even your reviewer, who remembers the Sixties (he was really there, man!) and those great sounds, was moving his ancient frame in a reasonably rhythmical manner. And that wasn’t just because of the Alcoholic Ice Cream which he had consumed during the interval (no, I hadn’t heard of such a thing either).
So my advice is, get hip to the Hippodrome, and have a groovy time!
- Directed by Joshue Mumby
- Musical Director : James Robert Ball
- Choreographer : Lily Howkins
- Produced by Hartshorn-Hook Productions
- The Hippodrome, London
- Until 26 August 2017
- Review by Richard McKee
- 22 July 2017