The Fabulous Eddie and Otis Soul Revue
Conceived and Directed by Phillip Ley
September 24th - 26th, 2009
The Tower Theatre performing at the Bridewell Theatre
Dr Johnson's All-Stars|
Colin Guthrie (Keyboards)
Peter Ley (Guitar)
Phillip Ley (Bass)
Adam Trisk (Drums)
Peta Barker (Percussion)
John Denichilo (Trumpet)
James Franey (Trombone)
Paul Sanders (Saxophone)
On Sunday 9th August we sampled a taster of the forthcoming Fabulous Eddie and Otis Soul Revue to be seen on 24th to 26th
September at the Bridewell. All I can say is that you'd better brush off your dancing trousers, because you're in for a treat.
The evening was a tribute to Terry Baker-Self. Whether or not soul music was his "thing" I'm not sure, but I know he would
have appreciated the rip-roaring energy and pizazz with which the show was delivered.
Four girls, four boys, a band, a compere and the soul hits of the sixties - what could go wrong ? Well, quite a lot in the wrong hands, but thankfully we were in the safest of hands. Imagine a joint concert given by the Supremes and the Temptations with guest appearances by Dusty Springfield, Smokey Robinson and the like, and you've got the general gist.
The girls, Maria Waters, Philippa Tatham, Kandice Morris and Annemarie Fearnley looked fabulous in a series of increasingly glamorous outfits. Maria Waters' velvety tones impressed in her solos, especially the Dusty Springfield number, Son of a Preacher Man. Kandice Morris knew how to sell a song, belting out Dancing in the Streets with a voice that could shatter glass. The boys, Martin South, James Bunn, Paul Jacobs and Dom Ward were also in fine voice. One of the most successful numbers of the evening was the Temptations classic Just my Imagination with Dom Ward taking the tricky falsetto lead. This rather quieter number enabled us to hear the marvellous backing harmonies from the other three. This, along with a very slick but simple dance routine, gave this song an extra dimension.
My only real criticism of the evening was that at times the balance of sound between musicians, lead vocalist and backing vocalists needed to be reconsidered. It was a pity that if good work was being done backing some of the other songs, it wasn't always audible. But these are details which I'm sure can be ironed out before the run.
The band of Philip and Peter Ley, Colin Guthrie, Peta Barker, Paul Saunders, Adam Trisk, John Denichilo and James Franey put in sterling work and we were treated to a gravel-voiced rendition of Roadrunner by compère Peta Barker.
It was a measure of the show's success that we were left wanting more. An Otis Redding revue and no Try a little Tenderness? If the boys could do the Temptations that well, what about My Girl? How about some more joint boy/girl numbers? No doubt this was a cunning plan to whet our appetites sufficiently to ensure we would come back in September to see the full length version.
This is a show that surely only the most determinedly miserable can fail to enjoy. So get down to the Bridewell and GRO-O-O-VE, baby !
Review by Helen McCormack