A tribute Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Billy Fury and Roy Orbison
4-5 April 2014
Reviewed by Lisa Hall
The Epstein Theatre in Liverpool is a nice small theatre that not everyone is aware is there. The foyer is up about 4 flights of stairs though there is a lift available if required. The theatre has a real cosy feel to it. The staff all seemed to multi task and all were friendly. It has a small, friendly bar and foyer which leads into the back of the theatre. There is multi-storey parking available less than 100 metres away across the road from the theatre.
The theatre is like stepping back in to the theatres of yesteryear. From its Victorian decor to its plush velvet upholstery you really did feel like you were going back in time to the heyday of these small theatres. The overall atmosphere was a very pleasant one.
The show itself was a tribute to the rock and roll greats of Billy Fury, Roy Orbison, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent. The way the show was put together was in the format of a live American Radio Broadcast. This was a clever and effective way to present the music of these four greats.
The show started with the presenter Spencer, building the tension for the show to come and from here on in he would be the link man between the changing performers. First to be introduced was Billy Fury played by Gavin Stanley.
Straight from the off the crowd were hooked. The backing band where the perfect back drop to the strong vocals of Stanley in the Fury guise. At the end of the Fury set of four DJ Spencer was back on sporting a saxophone to play a link piece whilst we waited for the next instalment, which was to be Roy Orbison.
Roy Orbison was portrayed by Lars Young. A frightening likeness of Orbison it was eerie. Unfortunately the performance was let down slightly by a slightly uneven mix so the vocals were not quite as strong or prominent as Stanley’s portrayal of Fury. This did little to distract from the performance though and including classics such as ‘Only the Lonely’ and ‘Sweet Dreaming Baby’ once more the crowd were sold and submersed themselves in the performance.
After another smooth link from DJ Spencer we were then introduced to Gavin Stanley once more only this time giving us his rendition of Eddie Cochran complete with American drawl. Of the four greats being honoured in this tribute Cochran was probably my favourite and straight away we are entertained with ‘Come on Everybody’, ‘Nervous Breakdown’, ‘Three Steps to Heaven’, and ‘Teenage Heaven’.
And so on to our final instalment of the first half and this to be Lars Young as a very believable Gene Vincent dressed exactly as Gene to include fantastic realistic touches like his leg brace. This time the sound mix did not let the performance down and it was a strong and impressive performance by Young.
This took us nicely in to the interval.
The second half started with a very sombre audio news reel piece of the plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. There then followed a moving duet from Cochran and Vincent performing an homage to their three lost friends. They brought the pace back up by following on from there with the pair performing ‘White Lightning’.
Cochran then left the stage to Vincent who then took us through more Vincent classics culminating with ‘Be Bop A Lula’. The second half followed a similar path to the first and more great songs including Billy Fury’s ‘That’s Love’ and ‘Half Way to Paradise’, Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’ and ‘Pretty Woman’ and Eddie Cochran’s ‘Something Else’ and ‘Summertime Blues’, where performed for the delight of the audience.
The show ended with the entire theatre and even production staff all up on their feet, singing and dancing.
A mention should be given to the four piece band that provided the backing for the front men. The sound was authentic and performed remarkably well.
Overall this was a well thought out format for showcasing some great songs from the glory days of Rock and Roll. A fantastic feel good show.
I would encourage anyone with an interest in this era of music to see the show. I would also encourage anyone to pay this great little theatre a visit if ever they get the chance.
Absolute 5 ***** show and venue!
For more information about shows at The Epstein Theatre visit www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk.
The Epstein Theatre, Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ | 0151 7094044