MUSICAL REVIEW: Five Guys Named Moe ★★★★

Five Guys Named Moe
Marble Arch Theatre, London
Saturday 28th December 2017

With a score consisting of some of Louis Jordan's greatest hits mixed with Clarke Peters dialogue, Five Guys named Moe has crash landed into London at the newly pop up March Arch Theatre with a bang, and will have you jumping, clapping, humming, and even participating in the production which never stops surprising you throughout!

Having not known hardly anything about the music from Louis Jordan, I really was going in completely blind apart from the trailer, so I was a bit apprehensive as to what I was about to watch, but just by stepping inside the beautifully stunning bar and front of house at the theatre, I instantly fell in love with decor and atmosphere around. Walking into the auditorium was also another big surprise, as though I knew there was a revolve and in the round, I had no idea it was staged like a spiegeltent, with an inner and outer stalls surrounding the stage. If you are thinking of coming to watch this production, I would say that there is really no bad seat in the house, though personally I really liked being in the outer stalls section where I could see everything without having to turn my head.

The surprises did not stop coming through with this show, and it really kept you on your feet when you weren't otherwise tapping to ever number and joining a conga line in the interval! Particular highlights were the back walls which transformed into New Orleans for 'Saturday Night Fish Fry’ and the top hat belonging to Little Moe, which steamed to visualise a steam train in the second act. The costumes from takis were stunning, especially when we entered the 'Funky Butt Club’ in the second act with the stunning lighting design from Philip Gladwell, which helped set the tone for every number, each uniquely different!

I always am a bit hesitant now when it comes to audience participation; if done well, it's brilliant and can be slick, but if not, if feels half done and embarrassing. There is no worries in this production though, and this is coming from someone who came into this show as a solo audience member, as the energy and commitment from the cast really seeps into the auditorium and the audience in particular, who are completely up for some laughs and singing experience as we commit to helping NoMax (Edward Baruwa) learn the lyrics to 'Push Ka Pi Shi Pie’, which is even more special due to the fact we get given a souvenir lyric sheet which is propelled through the air from the help of the front of house ushers.

Overall, Five Guys Named Moe is a joyous, uplifting story filled with incredible talent from the whole company, and makes me wonder just how many returns I can do to this show before it closes in March 2018.

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