Theatre Review: Carnaby Street The Musical - New Wimbledon Theatre (UK Tour) ✭✭✭

Carnaby Street The Musical
New Wimbledon Theatre

Monday 23rd September 2013: Hot on the heels of Dreamboats and Petticoats, which is set in the 50's, along comes Carnaby Street, set in the 60's. Yes, here we have yet another jukebox musical, crammed to the rafters with around forty 'hits' from the swinging decade.

The problem with many of these kind of shows, is the lack of a story line, and lots of tenuous links in to the songs... and this show is no exception. The plot is this: a Scouser named Jude heads to Soho with his friend Penny Lane (you see where this is going already) to find his fame and fortune as a singer. He manages to meet Jack who gets him a record deal, gets him in a band and fame is on the cards. Add a few love triangles on the way,  and thats about it really... nothing exciting, everyone lives happily ever after.

The show seems to drag on, it is slow to get going, the amount of numbers in the production is fast and furious, which means there is no time for characters to develop and we get a rushed storyline. This is a huge shame as the performers have fantastic voices, but the material they have to work with is pitiful. In between songs, a newspaper seller comes on giving us some headlines, some real, some made up as jokes (very bad ones, even to my standard)... but this is between nearly every song in the show... it becomes tedious and quite frankly boring.

As I said earlier, there are some great vocals in this show, Aimie Atkinson shines brightly as Penny, and Tricia Adele-Turner is also in fine form as Jane. The all singing, all dancing cast do a good job with what they are given, the choreography at times though leaves a little to be desired... it reminded me of my Welsh rarebit I had the other day - cheesy and flat and not enough spice! One character who did make me laugh though is Lily the Pink, played by Paul Hazel - at times he reminded me of Alan Carr with his mannerisms and voice, and boy can he belt out a song, Son of a Preacher Man being one of the highlights.

The production side of the show is also let down by the sound quality of the show. Monday night in Wimbledon and there was ear deafening crackles coming from the Bass guitar throughout, maybe a dodgy lead or broken pick-up, but at the end of most songs it hurt my ears.

Star rating for this show? Well, it will have to be three, as the audience seemed to enjoy it, even if they were quiet throughout, but I think it just goes to show that people are there for the music, not the musical. An average show at it's best.

Three stars ✭✭✭

Remaining Tour Dates

Mon 23rd – Sat 28th Sept: WIMBLEDON, New Wimbledon Theatre 

Mon 30th Sept – Sat 5th Oct: TORQUAY, Princess Theatre
Mon 7th – Sat 12th Oct: STOKE ON TRENT, Regent Theatre
Mon 14th –Sat 19th Oct: BRIGHTON, Theatre Royal
Tues 21st – Sat 26th Oct: SCARBOROUGH, Futurist Theatre 

Tues 29th Oct - Sat 2nd Nov: BRADFORD, Alhambra Theatre
Mon 4th – Sat 9th Nov: GLASGOW, Kings Theatre
Mon 11th – Sat 16th Nov: SUNDERLAND, Empire Theatre
Mon 18th – Sat 23rd Nov: MALVERN, Festival Theatre