Memphis musical impresses London press

Date Posted: 30/10/14

Memphis musical impresses London press

Broadway smash hit Memphis the Musical has made a strong entrance onto London's theatre scene, opening last week to very strong reviews from the first wave of reviewers during press week. 

The production, which achieved acclaim for its soaring songs, solid performances, enchanting story and sharp direction, received plenty of adoration at the Tony Awards when it opened in New York four years ago, scooping four of the awards it was nominated for.

Loosely based on the career of real life Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips, the story focuses on fictional Huey Calhoun, who hopes to replace the blandness of pop with the strong beat of R&B across America in the 1950s.

He puts all of his hopes into singer Felicia, but the pair run foul of the fierce segregation laws that were active in the US at the time when they develop romantic feelings for one another. 

Plenty of praise has been heaped on London leading lady Beverley Knight, as well as her opposite number in the musical Killian Donnelly. Writer David Bryan, meanwhile, also received acclaim for his soaring and spectacular ballads.

The Huffington Post reported that the audience were offering a standing ovation to the performers before the last note had even finished, while The Mirror's reviewer was entranced by the way "Knight soars effortlessly through the musical numbers, while Donnelly brings wit and great humour to the production".

Memphis is currently running at the Shaftesbury Theatre. For those who love fantastic musical theatre combined with infectious funk, pop anthems and bluesy church numbers, there is no better show to see currently on the West End. It's set to be an exciting run for this production.

Posted by Vikki Stathers

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