Review: Rock ‘n’ Roll Paradise
Venue: Grand Opera House, October, Saturday, October 12
Rock ‘n’ Roll Paradise hit the stage at The Grand Opera House last night featuring the music of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Big Bopper.
It played to a packed audience, the majority of whom were old enough to have been around for the originals. I was brought up on the music.
The show was billed as a tribute show, and I was cautious about how well these modern day musicians would manage to portray the rock ‘n’ roll greats. The programme showed there were several cast changes to the advertised line up and I’m afraid I can’t tell you who played Jerry Lee Lewis.
The show opened with Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Cochran (Gavin Stanley) on stage together. Whilst the voices weren’t as close as I’d have expected they both showed enthusiasm and energy, Eddie rocking around the stage and Jerry Lee showing he really can play the piano.
As with most of the performers, whilst the voices may have been off a lot of thought had gone into the characters and they showed skill in mirroring the moves of the originals, even down to facial expressions.
John-Simon Rawlings took on the role of the Big Bopper and compere for the evening. He gave my favourite performance of the night when he donned his Indian headdress and performed Running Bear, having previously performed his one and only real hit Chantilly Lace.
He bounced around the stage in his crepe shoes the whole evening, engaging the audience and finding humour at every opportunity.
Spencer Jordan took on the role of Buddy Holly, singing hits such as That’ll Be The Day, Oh Boy and Rave On.
I think the closest performance all night was Lars Young as Roy Orbison and his rendition of Pretty Woman certainly had the audience rocking in the aisles.
Elvis was played by Richard Atkins who gave a performance very much in the style of the Vegas years. Perhaps I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as that wasn’t my favourite Elvis era.
He had the stage moves and jokey elements of the performance down pat and sang classics such as Burning Love and Suspicious Minds, then had the audience on their feet and joining in with Wonder Of You and American Trilogy.
I’d say overall the audience enjoyed the show, it was a little reserved to start with, but they were dancing in the aisles down in the stalls and standing and joining in in the circles by the end of the show when all the performers were on stage together.
It was a bit daunting for me that the singers were often drowned out by the very loud and tuneless couple seated behind me, who were so enthusiastic about joining in and feet stomping that my seat was actually shaking at one point.
But overall I enjoyed the show and so did my 11 year old daughter – proving that you’re never too old nor too young to enjoy a great evening of rock ‘n’ roll.