A Little Bit Of Liverpool with your Fun Madam?

A 60’s Night Out

Theatre Severn

Thursday 12th April


It was an utterly packed house including be-chained dignitaries, that were waiting with deep anticipation for this charity concert to begin, the charity was, Crane Quality Councelling, and the bands on the footplate of the nostalgia train were The Swingin Blue Jeans (Hippy Hippy Shake, Good Golly Miss Molly) and the Merseybeats (Sorrow, Wishin’ and Hoping) and what a show of two halves it turned out to be.

One couldn’t help but feel for the Swinging Blue Jeans as they were in direct battle with the sound engineer, who at times made them sound like they were singing with their heads underwater and whilst eating candy floss. At first the boys cracked on but all too soon it became obvious that something had to be done. Then there was a shout from the stage claiming the wrong setting were being used in the sound desk, they were using the Merseybeats settings..But no, came a rather discolent voice from the sound desk, the settings were right. Embarrassing doesn’t come into it. I have never heard a soundman in a show arguing with the guests. It was almost like there was some kind of sabotage, all through their set the Swinging Blue Jeans were drawing attention to their monitors and it was all work that should be done in the sound checks. If one learned that today they had been late and there had been no sound check one would forgive a line a check but no more than that. It wasn’t the top game.

The Jolly Swinging Blue Jeans plodded on but one wonders if their hearts were in it. Was this show one too many in a long tour? We may never know. What we do know is they didn’t get a fair crack. Matters weren’t helped by long difficult intro’s that went through a muffled mike. One wishes too that people who have been before and in fact those that haven’t must know that almost every act that has ever been, asks the same question, is it Shrowsbury or Shrewsbury? We live here, we have dealt with that and still we have to. Wish there was a note in the dressing room….Please don’t do the Shrewsbury Versus Shrowsbury thing, its been done.

It wasn’t the best of starts however and some were not paying attention. One couldn’t help but notice the strange way the house lights finally came down about half way through the first song and that was only 75% of them initially leaving one tiny proportion of the audience in the light much to the observants amusement. However they got through it and the audience did clap along when asked and sang along too so the diehards were clearly in tonight.

The second half was a different entity. The sound was better, the crew had worked out the issue and the Merseybeats emerged. Instantly they got going, the sound was right the lights were off where they should be, and we could hear them.

With little wasted time on long rambling stories they cracked on and on again. Hitting us with punchy hit after hit. These boys were still there on top of their game, the vocalists' ranges were excellent and the songs were too. One was feeling entertained.

We had met the lead guitarist Tony Crane earlier on as the night’s charity was, The Crane Quality Counselling. The charity is named after Tony Crane and it has picked up the mantel where Relate left off offering help to people struggling any way at all in their relationship. A worthy cause and can be found in the Roy Fletcher Centre in the centre of Shrewsbury Town. Good on you Tony Crane, good on the service and good for the town.  If anybody needs that help and they are struggling in life, the door and their ears, are open. Long may it thrive: Some pennies were made towards it and for that we can all be thankful!

Bang on the money and fresh and striking is what one could attach to their music. It was solid it was good and it was a wonderful representation or example of what music was like fifty years ago. Fifty years and yet just as fresh and relevant as today. When faced with songs that one has forgotten one knew, is a great feeling and The MBs encouraged singing and clapping along. This band was alive and with the wealth of experience before them, they delivered a perfect and exciting set.

The charity did well, the boys did well and the audience went home happy. The great thing about watching a Nineteen Sixties show in the 21st century you don’t have to worry if your Mop Top or Beehive will suffer as you wait for the pony and trap to take you home.

Hang on was it or wasn’t it pony and trap back then? I am certain it was!

This is a Three Star Review

Owen J. Lewis


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. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. See more on www.ojlwritingservices.co.uk.

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