All Shook Up, Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton - review and pictures
The mid-week blues were well and truly given a shake-up as Wolverhampton Musical Comedy Company (MusCom) took to the Grand Theatre stage.
All Shook Up, inspired by the life of Elvis Presley, saw a cast of more than 30 singers, actors and dancers deliver a professional-standard production.
Stand-out performances by Zac Hollinshead as the lovable dental student Dennis, the West End-worthy vocals of Natalie played by Katie Astbury and the suave sophistication of Liam Sargeant as protagonist Chad meant this was a truly enjoyable show, getting the audience singing along and dancing in their seats from the opening number, Jailhouse Rock.
What the production did, more than anything was, surprise me. The tackling of topical issues relating to trans-sexuality and inter-racial relationships was an unexpected but welcome one - denoting how important amdram can be in widening audience's perspectives.
It was also a show full of real heart, with every cast member really giving it their all.
One notable performance was delivered in the cafe, with an unnamed blonde jumping on the table to deliver the performance arguably of the entire show - illustrating how impressive the vocals of this part-time theatrical group really are.
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Questionable American accents were at times overlooked for the consistently stunning vocals of Collete Forsythe whilst the budding relationship between Jess Olford as Lorraine and Mike Astley as Dean was both sincere and heart-warming.
The comedic timing of both Natalie and Dennis is to be commended, from the moment 'One Night With You' erupts from her lips, to Dennis' confident ballad on stage in barely his American flag underpants.
This is a show was one that I had to remind myself wasn't professional, as slick set changes and lighting cues meant that for a moment, I forgot what I was watching.
Even the under-the-thumb character of Sheriff Earl, played, as I understand it by J.Paul Murdock, who has previously been a stage age at the company, also really added a strong narrative core to the story.
Kimmy Corsellis as Miss Sandra was a character that, by the second act, was believable, hilarious, and much suited to Dennis, ensuring that this story was one of well-rounded happy endings - even if Natalie had to ride her own motorbike out of town.
I guess one thing is for certain, this show was more hip-shaking, lip-curling and blue-suede shoe-tapping than I thought it would be, and was a triumph for all that took to the leather-clad, fairground-esque stage.
Tickets cost from £9 to £20.50. Runs until Saturday, March 18.
By Jessica Labhart
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