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Review: Million Dollar Quartet, Ipswich Regent, November 20-25

21 November, 2017 - 16:53
Million Dollar Quartet, starring Martin Kemp, visits the Ipswich Regent November 20-25. Photo: Alastair Muir

Million Dollar Quartet, starring Martin Kemp, visits the Ipswich Regent November 20-25. Photo: Alastair Muir


One evening in 1956, four music legends gathered at Sun Records in Memphis for an impromptu but historic jam session and the story of that night is rockin’ the Regent this week as hit musical Million Dollar Quartet comes to town.

This tale of a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration sees Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins (no, I didn’t know who he was either) meet by chance at the studio that launched their careers.

Despite a few grudges - Carl Perkins actually wrote Blue Suede Shoes but it is always attributed to Elvis – they can’t resist the chance to play together. What follows is jukebox musical magic.

A must see for rock ‘n’ roll fans, this show is more like a gig from the past with idols of the genre singing great songs and the sound ‘turned up to 11’. Doing the music justice is no small task and tribute should be paid to the hugely talented cast which includes Rhys Whitfield as the voice and swivel hips of Elvis, Robbie Durham who seems to actually channel the voice of Johnny Cash as he is vocally spot on, and Matthew Wycliffe who is suitably grumpy as Perkins while dominating on guitar.

Special mention should also be made of Katie Ray who plays Elvis’s girlfriend Dyanne and performs a brilliant version of Fever.

But if music is the star of the show then Martin Kaye is the personality, heart and humour as new boy on the block Jerry Lee Lewis.

Not only a genius on piano, he captures the voice, style and physicality of Lewis perfectly and gives the whole story a lift.

Something it needed as it felt somewhat flat against the joyous celebration of rock.

Though largely narrated by Sun Records owner and creator of rock ‘n’ roll, Sam Phillips (Martin Kemp), I rather lost interest during these moments and felt it needed a stronger, louder stage presence to really engage the audience and keep the pace.

But then does the narrative matter when you have four rock ‘n’ roll legends on stage doing their thing?

Jerry Lee Lewis says rock ‘n’ roll is ‘temptation, fornication and damnation’ so I suspect not.

It has been one of the hottest, driest summers for decades – and these pictures show just what impact it’s had on the landscape in Suffolk.

An appeal to build 300 homes in Kesgrave has been dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate – more than two years after the original decision was made.

A dedicated panel which holds Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner to account has expressed “serious concerns” over plans to axe half of the county’s PCSOs.

Schools in Suffolk held lessons about the perils of knife crime last week in an attempt to ensure students stay safe during the six week summber holiday.

Have you been feeling the heat in Suffolk and north Essex? Experts are warning the warm spell is far from over – with weeks of dry weather still to come.

It is a chance to get up, close and personal with your favourite Ipswich Town stars and celebrate East Anglia’s greatest football club.

Two Ipswich parks have again been certified with Green Flag status, awarded to the best green spaces in the country.

A panel holding Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner to account have urged him to pursue plans to widen a scheme featuring new speed cameras with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR).

It was a trip down the rabbit hole for visitors at Maidenhall Allotments – as guests took tea with the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat.

Talks are underway for a partnership scheme between two Suffolk councils and the library service which would see pop-up access points for people to sort their council business and offer tourist information.

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