PUBLISHED: 16:41 04 February 2009 | UPDATED: 17:19 16 August 2010
THE cult 1980 movie The Blues Brothers is something of a phenomenon, writes Mark Campbell. Combining the poker-faced comedy antics of Dan Ackroyd and James
THE cult 1980 movie The Blues Brothers is something of a phenomenon, writes Mark Campbell.
Combining the poker-faced comedy antics of Dan Ackroyd and James Belushi with some of America's finest soul singers - not to mention several spectacular car chases and a host of stars - the film is still enormously popular.
Fans will no doubt have loved The Blues Brothers Party, held recently at Bromley's Churchill Theatre.
The premise is simple: two singers, backed by an energetic band and a four-strong female backing group, belt out songs from the film.
Dancing in the aisles is always difficult at the Churchill because of the tightly packed seating arrangement, but several people did stand up and gyrate to some of the songs, while the rousing finale got everyone on their feet.
To those unfortunate souls who have never seen the movie, this particular party may seem rather pointless (although there's no denying the foot-tapping enjoyment of the music) - but for aficionados, this show is a neat summation of the film's engagingly upbeat tone.
Simon Connolly as Jake Blues, the short one, is arguably the better singer, with a vocal dexterity that comes to the fore in the surprisingly poignant Guilty.
His brother Elwood, played by Ben Watson, is best at the broad comedy numbers, such as Stand by Your Man and the surreal Rubber Biscuit.
Covering a wide gamut of musical tastes, we have country and western (Rawhide), gospel (The Old Landmark), rock and roll (Jailhouse Rock) and a welter of blues, which is pretty much everything else.
Most songs see Connolly and Watson perform together, and they are perfect. Vocally and physically, they are uncannily like the real thing.
The four-girl Sisters of Soul provides a touch of glamour, while Duncan Walsh Atkins' on-stage band are clearly having a wonderful time. This is a party that's hard to leave.
The next production at the Churchill Theatre is Little Shop of Horrors by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken from 6-14 February. Tickets: 0870 060 6620.
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