Garrick Theatre, London
Guest reviewer: Josh Kemp
Rip It Up does exactly that to the conventional West End tried and tested jukebox musical. In part a reality TV show and in part a showcase, the evening encapsulates a musical time-machine that will have you tapping your feet and smiling from cheek to cheek despite your best attempts to resist.
In a show that will please Boomers and Millennials alike, the show covers the cherished pop hits of the 60s. Harry Judd, Louis Smith, Jay McGuiness and Aston Merrygold whirl through the decade’s differing music scenes ranging from the swinging 60s all the way through to the Mods. Much in the spirit of A Hard Day’s Night, this fab four clearly enjoy their West End debut.
Merrygold delivers some show-stopping vocals, well and truly stepped up when hitting the high notes of Frankie Valli as Smith pleases the crowd with some physical feats that are almost Olympian, such is his showbiz finesse.
Full of energy from start to finish the show does a great job of reliving some of the era’s most cherished music, with the power of female vocalist Jill Marie Cooper alongside the onstage band adding the show’s TV studio feel. There’s an unexpected treat in the second half where Judd’s dance is a joy to behold – one can see that his time on Strictly has certainly paid off.
Not for those seeking a quite night of passive theatre, but if you are up for some mash potato plus a little bit of twist and a sprinkling of shout then this show will most definitely have you singing these classic records all day and all of the night. Rip up your plans and get yourself a ticket – it’s nostalgic, cheesy and delightfully good fun.