Million Dollar Quartet? Surely Underestimates Own Value!

Million Dollar Quartet

Theatre Severn

30th May….. 3rd June 2017

 The legend reads, Million Dollar Quartet, the story of how four stars made Rock n Roll History. The narrative concerns a great coming together of four of the greatest Rock n Roll names ever to meet, the meeting is in Sam Phillip’s Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee; the names are Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. Interwoven with exquisite songs from that famous meeting, this is one of the most exciting and captivating shows to have come this way for a while.

It is the story of how Sam Phillips became known as the Father of Rock n Roll. Phillips (Jason Donavan) One learns how he was a visionary and a conduit for some of the greatest talent of the day and he had a studio. Those elements combined make for a perfect storm and as the legend rightly states, history was made.

It is worth contextualising to make one understand how we bought into the Devil’s own music. Given the fact that for the first half of last century people didn’t know if they their friends and loved ones their towns and cities might ever see the latter part of the millennia. They had witnessed two great wars, poverty was rife in the U.S. and consequently there was energy and power just itching to be used.

For too long the youth had had to march away, serve and probably die. Then came peace; then came art and then came energy in a celebration of life that became Rock n Roll. To watch the show bearing in mind that they had all come from that bleak historical era gives a true understanding how the young reinvented themselves, they became what we all know and love as the teenager and it highlights how the old folks didn’t like it over much. Probably because they had lost control.

If only the changes were permanent. However Vietnam saw to it that wasn’t going to be the case, but in 1950’s Tennessee every thing was just right for the making of this incredibly durable, lovable and powerful music.

This show reflects that lost era and pricks one’s awareness to what was really going on and how these great songs that live deeply etched in all our consciences, came to be being made.

The performances from all are stunning. One could not help but love the encouragble Jerry Lee (Ashley Carruthers) and the masterly performance but each Singer/Artist is so brilliant that if one was to scour the globe for the next fifty years it would be hard to find a cast so wonderfully chosen.

But not only was the show cast so perfectly the direction was astonishing. A good director’s work will be seen all over the stage not just around the principals who happen to be exchanging dialogue. In the trade the “other stuff,” is known as business and it is a great director that fills his stage with business, Ian Talbot (Director) does just that. From the interaction in the middle and background the show changes from a concept into a show. This is a show, not a play, not a gig but a show and a brilliant one too.

Audience members found it hard to believe these weren’t the actual stars and we weren’t actually in Sun Records and it wasn’t 1954 rather like the subject matter itself, everything comes together  in a superb final product.

Jason Donavan has been with us on our screens, radios, cinemas and stages for more than thirty years. The golden boy who had us reaching for the bucket with his too sickly Jason/Kylie Christmas number one, has come of age. He was outstanding and played with the exact passion and pathos that had us all feeling for him as the story unfolds. He has talent for ten!

The wonderfully designed set, the lighting and the great sound all add to that perfect storm. However to break away from the perfect storm analogy for a moment, it doesn’t rain, snow or hail and the trees don’t fall over but rather like a perfect storm, tonight the Theatre Severn roof was blown away.

This show runs all week. Go to it. I often finish by saying that but allow me to add; I never say it if it isn’t meant.  Now where did I leave my Blue Suede Shoes?

This is a Five Star Review.

Owen J. Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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