Marley Reprised, New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham - review
All great musical icons are late. The stories of the likes of Guns N' Roses or Eminem leaving their fans salivating into a frenzy are commonplace.
So we guess it is only fair that this, a fun-filled if slightly slap-dash tribute to Bob Marley, had us waiting around 20 minutes after the advertised start time for the lights to dim.
What played out for the next two hours (plus our normal interval of course) was a party homage to one of music’s great minds.
Marley Reprised isn’t a tribute act. It’s not a bunch of guys trying to be The Wailers. It’s a group – a very talented group – paying their respects to the godfather of reggae and holding their own.
Their energetic frontman is a joy to behold. Mitchell Brunings was in Birmingham last year playing Bob in biopic musical One Love and he impressed us then.
Now out of character his obvious love of Bob's legacy made him equally perfect for this role. One gobsmacked onlooker praised his stage presence, and she was spot on.
We started a bit off-kilter and feeling tentatively amateur. But by the time I Shot The Sheriff arrived a few songs into the set the crowd were on their feet and lapping up the musical fare. This song in particular benefited from the full five-piece band. The dangerous undertones of the music were brought alive via thumping percussion and bass.
Act one simmered nicely before the heat was really cranked up during a back-to-back performance of Buffalo Soldier and then Is This Love?
The former’s political meaning for the Caribbean community was evident in their reaction.
The second set continued to bring people to their feet. From up in the Grand Circle the stalls looked like they were having a blast.
They were kept bopping into a nicely done finale which encompassed Jammin', One Love and Could You Be Loved by which point Mitchell's hard work on-stage had them eating out of his hand. One woman even tried to grab his leg on stage but he quickly frog-stepped that one.
It was just such a shame that plenty up where we were so engrossed in their phones. Insta feeds, WhatsApp group chats – I am pretty sure one girl to our left filmed the whole show. Look out for it on YouTube.
Well done Mitchell. This is a celebratory honouring of one of music's finest and had people dancing their way out to the street afterwards.
- Marley Reprised play again at the New Alex Theatre on Sunday night. Tickets are still available from the venue.