Last night, I went with my mum to see Blues Brothers: The Smash Hit. The show is a tribute act/review, dedicated to John Belushi’s and Dan Ackroyd’s characters Jake and Ellwood Blues. If you haven’t seen the film, go do it now because it’s brilliant.
You done? Good.
Okay so, this time, rather than being in the Upper Circle like we were for Save The Last Dance For Me, we down in the stalls. Yeah, posh! A good view, nice amount of room and we could have used the binoculars, if we so wished. I put on a nice top, Mum dressed smart, and we turned up and most people were wearing jeans and t-shirts, or shirts with hats and sunglasses.
You could tell this was going to be a good audience.
The show started with blue police lights, sirens and a voice-over from the film.
It worked really well to get the audience pumped up, as the band began to play Peter Gunn Theme. You could feel the energy in the room, could feel the audience getting pumped up as one of the cast, dressed as a policeman, pulled a tape across the stage. Brad Henshaw and Chris Chandler – Jake and Ellwood – appeared, and the audience burst into applause.
The two leads pulled off their parts brilliantly. You could tell that for them – and the rest of the cast – this was a pure labour of love, and I found myself wondering how often they must have watched the films to get so in character. The mannerisms worked well, and there felt like there was a real connection between the two. I saw one review mentioned that the fake Chicago accents were grating, but I didn’t feel they were. Admittedly, the American accents were pulled off better than in Save The Last Dance.
The band were brilliant, and entertaining, and it was fun to see them switch into different costumers. The Bluettes – the backing singers/dancers – were great, as was William Hazel, who in the programme is noted as ‘Understudy’ but on stage played a variety of roles. He performed a number of songs, including Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher. He couldn’t quite match Calloway’s singing style, but he had the audience responding in all the right places and pulled off the moves very well.
Overall, it was a great show. We got to our feet when encouraged – some didn’t need that encouragement (I think alcohol was involved) – clapped and sang along, and a few rows in front of us was Cardiff’s very own dancing granny. (She was brilliant!) The crowd was a complete mix of ages, and everyone clearly enjoyed themselves. The cast were brilliant at encouraging everyone to join in, making everyone laugh and drilling up some sympathy when required. Plus, they threw in some nice Welsh-specific jokes too. (Mentioning Ely along with claiming Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual is the Welsh National Anthem. It’s not. That title goes to Delilah. But we let it slide.) It was overall a very fun experience, and I really hope they come back to Cardiff. I’d sure as hell go see it again.
Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to go watch The Voice.