Southwark Playhouse, London – until 1 June 2019
Tyrone Huntley makes his directorial debut with this vivacious production that hasn’t been seen in London for almost 25 years. With Oti Mabuse’s choreography, the show is a whirlwind of energy which excites and entertains throughout.
Originally conceived by Richard Maltby Jr the show is billed as The Fats Waller Musical. It’s more of a cabaret revue than a musical but, thanks to Huntley’s direction, the performers have their own characteristics which thread throughout the show and create a fantastic cohesion.
Songwriter and pianist, Fats Waller had a hugely successful career which combined jazz, slapstick comedy and gin. However, this show isn’t about the man himself, but the music he created.
The powerhouse cast bring spades of energy and vocal prowess with every number. Renée Lamb is sassy and animated, Carly Mercedes Dyer is sweetly comedic, Landi Oshinowo brings spades of soul, Wayne Robinson is smooth and sharp and Adrian Hansel is sleek throughout. Alongside the strong five-piece band, the team give contagious performances.
The set and costume design by takis is glitzy and exuberant, with sparkles and swing embodied on every inch. The Southwark Playhouse is transformed to have an almost speakeasy feel as we are whisked away to a world of jazz and gin.
The 100 minute show is a sexy and sassy celebration of Fats Waller’s music, with choreography and vocals to impress everyone. The cast do an outstanding job of selling all of the thirty musical numbers and providing both emotional and hugely comedic moments.
Ain’t Misbehavin’ runs at the Southwark Playhouse until June 1st 2019
photo credit: Pamela Raith