‘Sweet Talking Guy’ wins around audience on debut night!
Despite a delayed start to this show, the world premiere was worth attending even if there wasn’t a red carpet in sight. While a sceptic about jukebox musicals based on the back catalogue of yesteryear, I was pleasantly surprised and entertained by this production.
The songs come thick and fast—20 in all in 75 minutes—but they were placed in a framework around two touring groups of singers and their American manager’s romance with the UK tour organiser.
While the story is close to being one dimensional, Eddie McDowell who wrote, directed and played the leading man may have the basis for a show at least the equal of some of the similar shows in the West End. His choice of songs was better than many of its counterparts and the lyrics fitted in well with his storyline.
A cast of nine—four Jersey Beats, three Shoops and the two principals—alternate between a concert format and the romance between Johanna (Kat McKenzie) and Frankie (Eddie McDowell).
Humour usually comes from Joey (Fraser Jamieson) of the Jersey Beats whose singing and moves capture the male American groups of the time.
The Shoops look and sound the part with Cassie (Jenna Lee) in particular making an impact when she was lead singer. Jennifer Good (Sherri) is convincing as Frankie's conscience.
Eddie McDowell has the ability to seem relaxed on stage and his voice, while not as deep as some of the original artistes, was still very good. His rendition of ‘She,’ recorded and co-written by Charles Azanavour, was to me a great improvement!
Equally, Kat McKenzie, whose acting while singing was great throughout, reversed my previous poor opinion of ‘Anyone who had a Heart’.
The difficulty of producing a similar sound to the original live in a hall at the Fringe was largely overcome although there were a couple of numbers associated with UK groups that maybe need a little work.
With some more dialogue and perhaps a parallel story going on at the same time as the great romance, Eddie McDowell may be able to produce a full-length show that other companies may want to perform elsewhere.
Show Times: Runs to August 27th at 10:15pm
Ticket Prices: £9 and £7