Reviewed by Sasha Nye
Last night I took my oldest friend of over 30+ years to see The Chicago Blues Brothers: Back in Black Tour at The Hawth in Crawley. The first thing I noticed when I looked at the stage was the banner saying ‘’ Let the Good Times Roll’’ as I continued to scan the auditorium and the audience I realised that we were in for a good night. The atmosphere was electric, people were sat eagerly waiting for the show to start. Some of them dressed in the ‘Blues Brothers’ attire of black suits, shades and trilby hats ready to have a good time.
The Blues Brothers film came out originally in 1980; it starred the late John Belushi, Carrie Fisher, Aretha Franklin and Dan Ackroyd and became a legend in its own right. Everybody has a favourite scene or song from the film, so I knew that the cast of the show had big shoes to fill. I was very young when the film came out, but I have fond childhood memories of watching the film with my family and so did my friend, so we had high expectations.
The show started with The Chicago Blues Brothers Band, who in my humble opinion are a very talented group of musicians. They were followed by the beautiful double act of the Soul Sisters and quickly bouncing on to the stage after them were Chris Hindle (Jake Blues) and Gareth Davey (Elwood Blues).
The show started with a fast pace that continued throughout and from the start they had the audience clapping and singing along. They covered some great songs from artists such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Cab Calloway to name but a few. During the first half there was a slight incident in the front row which was managed very impressively by the manager on duty. For less professional performers it may have stopped proceedings or put them off their flow but Chris, Gareth and the band continued to entertain us as if nothing was happening. Hats off to them!!
After a short interval they returned and from the get go the second half had a completely different feel to it. It was a party! Everyone was on their feet dancing and singing to probably the most iconic songs that you would connect to the Blues Brothers – Shake Your Tail Feather, Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Give Me Some Loving etc… I for one spent the whole of the second half on my feet “shaking my tail feather!” For me, particular highlights were firstly their rendition of ‘Stand by your man’ which was great but also very funny and the teaching of the dance moves for ‘Shake Your Tail Feather’ was really fun to join in with and watch others join in too.
Cast wise, the horn section which consisted of Johnny, Adrian and Chris were amazing but also great fun to watch as they danced and got involved with the show. Some ‘DAD’ dance moves were in there if I am honest, but they pulled it off. The vocal range of Marcia Campbell when she sang the Aretha Franklin section was stunning to listen to.
I mentioned the film a little earlier and one of the things that I love about it, is the character played by Dan Ackroyd (Elwood Blues) he unexpectedly stole the film with his dancing and vocals and I think that Gareth Davey did a great representation of this character. In fact, I think I could even go as far as to say he was an even better Elwood Blues.
The Hawth is also a great venue. It is very easy to find, with a massive free car park. Food and drink are reasonably priced, and all the staff are very friendly and helpful. Another great feature is there is no restrictive view anywhere within the auditorium, so you always get a great view of the stage no matter where you are seated.
If you want to go and see a show that has an extremely talented band, great vocalists, humour, dancing, feel thoroughly entertained and leave feeling like you have just been to a huge party then look no further than The Chicago Blues Brothers.
The Chicago Blues Brothers are currently on tour around the UK with the Back in Black Tour, for more information and tour dates visit www.thebluesbrothers.co.uk.
For other shows at The Hawth in Crawley visit hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01293 553636.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636