The latest production by the Radlett Musical Theatre Company is one of the first amateur productions of the hugely popular musical ‘Cats’. The RMTC seem to be making a habit of choosing an eclectic range of material for their shows. Their recent staging of ‘The Producers’ was an inspired choice, with the emphasis on slapstick comedy and well-defined lead characters, with a great plot and spectacular set pieces. ‘Cats’ is a very different beast (no pun intended).
I never got round to seeing David Bowie live and of course I never will now, so the opportunity to see a highly-rated tribute act on my doorstep was not to be missed. The sound at the Harpenden Halls has been pretty ropey in the past, but from the first notes it was clear that this band had their own PA and had made an effort to get the sound right. The show consisted of two sets, with the first one comprising of songs from his great period in the early seventies - Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. The costumes and sound was pretty much spot on. The band were note perfect and classic after classic followed.
Michael Jackson might be gone but his wonderful music lives on thanks to performers like CJ who brought his show-stopping production to the stage of the Alban Arena on Friday, October 26. The spectacular show, a kind of cross between a Michael Jackson concert and a stage production, is truly sensational. CJ has the not-inconsiderable support of four well-drilled girl dancers , a top-class four-piece backing band, plus dazzling lighting effects and video footage shown on a big screen and keeping everything in context.
Arriving at the Radlett Centre, there is a buzz of excitement as fans of all ages; including, parents, children and their grandparents, hang out in the auditorium waiting for the event to begin.CJ is one of the most experienced, dedicated and well-respected Michael Jackson tribute artists and he perfectly captures the electrifying energy of Michael Jackson’s live performances with the look, the voice and the moves!This evening, CJ, with his band, backing singers and incredible dancers, recreated a spectacular performance of his favourite Michael Jackson songs with great lighting display, visual imagery and audio clips taken from Michael’s professional life.
I have been a fan of the film since childhood. Very much a period piece of the 1960s, with a career defining performance by Zero Mostel as Max Bialystock. So inventive, irreverant and outrageously funny. A lot for the stage show to live up to and on-the-whole, it did.
Reviewing a tribute band will always be difficult. Do they sound as good as the original? Do they look the part? Thankfully ABBA Forever came up positive on all these points and I believe the sold-out crowd at the Radlett Centre would back me on this.
There are hundreds of would-be Sinatras and Bowies roaming the UK and earning a very good living but tribute acts playing the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are a little thin on the ground. Even rarer is a group of musicians who are perfectionists and go to great lengths to recreate the impressive, tuneful rock music created by the singer-songwriter-musician from Gainesville in Florida. Petty died one year ago at the relatively young age of 66 but his music will live on for future generations.
This was the first time I had seen a performance in the studio part of the Abbey Theatre. I must say I liked the intimacy this created. Allowing the audience to feel a part of the production, almost. The play is quite short, in two acts of 45-50 minutes or so and this felt right. All the dialogue and action had meaning and impact.
The Alban Arena is a venue with a rich history of welcoming touring acts, some of which have gone on to world-wide fame - such as Dire Straits, who played there in 1978. I saw the legendary Rory Gallagher there in 1988, more recently The Waterboys and The Gorillaz have graced the stage. It is maybe a sign of the times that more tribute bands than original artists perform there these days. So when two of the UKs most respected musical artists were coming to the Alban Arena it was likely to be an evening not to be missed!
The Johnny Cash Roadshow played the Radlett Centre on the 16th February 2014. This is a review of that concert.
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