Review: All Shook Up, Monday 28 September at Theatre Royal
Directors: Richard Carruthers and Jake Byrom Robinson
Reviewed by Judene Edgar
After a long time away, we were finally back in the glorious Theatre Royal and being transported to another time and place.
The lights dimmed, the curtains opened, and we were in small-town America, 1958. Into town rides guitar-playing motorcycle-riding “roustabout” Chad, played by the talented Joel Sangster, who changes everything and everyone he meets.
Featuring the music of Elvis Presley, Beatlemania-volume squealing and lots of swiveling hips, Chad is the man that every woman wants to be with and every man wants to be, in particular Natalie and Ed, both skillfully portrayed by Yasmin Ismael.
Determined to stop Chad from taking the town down a pathway of indecency and moral corruption is puritanical Mayor Matilda, hilariously portrayed by outstanding character actor Brooklyn Saunders.
We also learn that not only does love have no boundaries, but that it can be right in front of you, with ever-present but never-noticed waitress Sylvia’s (Brooklyn Hardiman’s) mature and soulful rendition of “There’s Always Me”.
Unassuming underdog Dennis, played with great comedic timing by Sam Clark, also comes into his own and shines in “It Hurts Me”.
It was not only a strong cast but an equally strong ensemble, with “Can’t Help Falling in Love” filling the theatre with energy and emotion.
There was minimal use of props but the lighting was used to great effect throughout. The costume team did an excellent job – complete with blue suede shoes a-plenty, leather jackets and full skirts.
For a night full of everything we love about the 1950’s – fun dancing, soulful singing, and corny pick-up lines – you can’t go past this toe-tapping, foot-stomping musical comedy.
“All Shook Up” is on at the Theatre Royal, 7pm daily, Monday 28 September to Saturday 3 October.