Touring then –
London’s Royal Festival Hall 17 December 2016 – 7 January 2017
Guest reviewer: Sarah Miatt
In 1956 four young men on the brink of stardom had an impromptu jam session at the now legendary Sun studios under the watchful eye of Sam Phillips, the man who created Rock’n’Roll. Those four men were Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. Million Dollar Quartet is a recreation of this, now famous, session.
A realistic set recreating the recording studio, complete with gold discs on the wall and a plethora of musical instruments was well used. The exits off to the side then appearing at the front of the stage depicting the outside of the studio coupled with the lighting made the difference between inside and out very effectively.
The performances were all outstanding. Jason Donovan was the glue that held the show together, providing narration and history throughout as Sam Phillips, the entrepreneur who started Sun Records and discovered some of the genres superstars. Katie Ray as Dyanne, Elvis Presley’s latest girlfriend was a powerhouse of sound. Her stunning voice raised the roof with the likes of “Fever”.
Ross William Wild was a very convincing Elvis Presley he had the look and sound just right as well as showing the incredibly vulnerable side of the man who the world adored. Matthew Wycliffe was moody and sulky as Carl Perkins. His singing was impressive and the way he interacted with the other men was brilliant. His comical banter with Jerry Lee Lewis was a perfect contrast to his arguments with Elvis over the loss of his most famous number , “Blue Suede Shoes”
A young Johnny Cash played by Robbie Durham gave a laid back, calm and wise performance showing a man who was perhaps old before his time. His beautiful bass voice delighted, particularly during his hit song “Walk the Line”. Martin Kaye as Jerry Lee Lewis stole the show. His comic timing as well as Lewis’s signature crazy leg moves offset the more serious moments to perfection and “Great Balls of Fire” had the audience on their feet.
These four men are all very accomplished quadruple threat performers. They not only sang, acted and moved to perfection but also played their respective instruments to an impossibly high standards. They are, all four, ones to look out for.
On the whole this show was sublimely “Rock’n’Roll” and had the entire theatre on their feet dancing and singing along by the end. Great fun and worth watching.