As a treat for finishing my exams, my Grandma bought me tickets to see the Broadway phenomenon that is Memphis on Wednesday 15th July. I heard the music a while back and instantly wanted to go and see the show – I was not disappointed.
Memphis is about the segregation of black and white people in the 1950s in the American town of Memphis (you never guessed that, right?). Aspiring DJ Huey Calhoun goes to the Beale Street underground club which is run by black people and they do not want him there. Felicia Farrell is a very promising singer and after being sacked from his job at a record shop, Huey vows to get Felicia on his brand new radio show.
Rachel John was on as the alternate Felicia for this performance and although I absolutely adore Beverly Knight’s portrayal of the character from the cast album and various performances they’ve done on shows such as the Olivier Awards and Sunday Night at the Palladium, John was mind-blowing in the role. Her vocals were out of this world and she really explored the character’s depths, which was conveyed in her fantastic portrayal of every aspect of Felicia’s character.
Another alternate was on for this show, and that was Jon Robyns in the role of Huey. From the moment he came bounding down those steps into the underground club, I knew he was going to be thoroughly polished and entertaining in the role, which he most certainly was. He gave the character so much energy and humour – often conveyed in his ‘bull in a china shop’ approach to things. Robyns was truly a joy to watch and made Huey a truly loveable character.
The cast was made up of a lot of performers who are all wonderful, however I do need to pick out some to give mentions to and I chose Rolan Bell as Delray, Claire Machin as Gladys and last but certainly not least, Jason Pennycooke as Bobby. Bell has the most wonderful, rich vocals, Machin is just hilarious and Pennycooke’s dancing skills leave nothing to be desired!
Overall, a brilliant, feel-good show packed with so much energy that you feel physically exhausted afterwards. It also leaves you with the Mamma Mia effect – meaning that you leave the theatre still singing and dancing hours, or in my case, days later. I definitely enjoyed the show far too much as I cannot get enough of the cast album or the various performance clips from other shows. Tickets are booking until October so if you’re in London, go and see this masterpiece. If you cannot get down to see the show in time, then you must get a copy of the London Cast Album, which I will also be posting down the side with my other cast albums in a few moments.