Reviewed by Lucy Gwilliam
Rave On -The Ultimate 50s and 60s Experience at The Plaza, Stockport Review
Yesterday evening I went with my husband to see Rave On at Stockport Plaza. This show is advertised as the ultimate 50s and 60s musical sensation and although I wasn’t born in this era and am too young to recognise a few of the tunes , this didn’t spoil my enjoyment. I had seen many great reviews of this show and was extremely excited to have the opportunity to watch the performance.
The show is primarily about the rise of rock and roll in the United States during the 50s and 60s and the spread into the United Kingdom. The show features the popular hits from this era ranging from Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, Little Richard to our very own The Beatles, Billy Fury, Dusty Springfield and Lulu and highlights all the very important acts of this era. The show has been created by Oliver Seymour-Marsh and Dan Graham, who have previously played leading roles in other spectacular West End productions and international tours, including The Buddy Holly Story and Million Dollar Quartet, which I had already seen and absolutely loved, so I knew we were in for a treat.
We arrived at the Plaza in Stockport, which is an impressive Art Deco building, and were promptly shown to our comfortable seats by the friendly, efficient staff. We were seated close to the stage and were perfectly situated to watch this exciting performance.
The Bluejays band came onto the stage, dressed in typical 50s attire and immediately belted out hits from the 1950s. Lead singer Jason Shaw was superb singing hits by Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley and when Amelia Rendell appeared onto the stage and began to sing Hound Dog, the audience were singing and clapping along. The lady in front of me was up on her feet, dancing in the aisle from the very beginning of the show. When Amelia sang her version of Connie Francis’ Stupid Cupid, the audience absolutely loved it.
The band played their instruments in innovative ways, from the double bass player lying on the floor playing his instrument over his head to using a washboard to make music. The lead guitarist, Dan Graham constantly changed from one guitar to another, showcasing his amazing musical talent and wowing the audience. One highlight was when the drummer came to the front of the stage and demonstrated playing Not Fade Away on a cardboard box in exactly the same manner as Buddy Holly had done so many years ago.
After a brief interval, The Bluejays emerged back onto the stage dressed in grey suits, looking like a typical 60s act. They then proceeded to play a number of Beatles’ tunes and other songs from that era, including The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys. Lead singer, Amelia Rendell came to the front dressed in mini dress and white boots and belted out her fantastic version of These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, which incidentally she sang so much better than Nancy Sinatra had originally sang. The audience absolutely lapped it up, clapping and singing along and dancing in the aisle. Amelia’s version of Shout was spectacular too. Another highlight of the performance was when the band did a version of Billy Fury’s Wonderous Place. As many people may know Billy Fury had an impressive voice with a great vocal range and this particular song is very difficult to sing, but the Bluejays really did it justice and performed it brilliantly.
The final song was of course Rave On, which was played to perfection, before the band came back for a final encore.
The band’s energy and musical ability made this a real feel-good performance. If you are a fan of good old-fashioned rock and roll music, this is the perfect show for you. We had a fantastic evening and went home singing and tapping our toes.
Tickets cost from £27.50