Reviewed by Claire Turner
Spring is in the air! A perfect night with a great sunset and tickets to see Million Dollar Quartet (the Broadway and West End smash hit musical) at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend – starring Jason Donovan! Having listened to some of the cast being interview on BBC Essex this afternoon I was ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
We arrived early enough to park on the sea front and walk up the steps to the theatre and grab a bite to eat and a drink. We settled in our seats with time to spare!
On December 4, 1956 one man brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvin Presley to play together for the first and only time. His name was Sam Phillips… the place was Sun Records… that night they made rock ‘n’ roll history.
This musical tells the story of that night. It starts with a bang with Blue Swede Shoes being played and sung by all 4! We then get to meet each musician as they all turn up at Sun Studios in what was a fantastic impromptu jam session. We learn about what brought them to Sun Studios and their backgrounds as narrated by Jason Donovan who plays Sam Phillips.
We meet Jerry Lee Lewis first played by Ashley Carruthers – an excellent pianist and singer trying to make it big for the first time. Carl Perkins joins him in the recording studio – played by Matthew Wycliffe. He was the original recording artist of Blue Swede Shoes before Elvis Presley made it his own! He tries to have a solo jam session but Jerry Lee keeps playing the piano over him – a great part is played by Ashley!
In walks Robbie Durham, who plays Johnny Cash, a fantastic singer and guitarist. Seemingly to tell Sam Phillips that he’s signed to Columbia Records although Phillips has a new contract for him!
Elvis Presley, played by Ross William Wild, walks in with his girlfriend Dyanne played by Katie Ray. They encourage Dyanne to showcase her voice and she is a great singer! Ross has the moves of Elvis and we get to see this a lot.
It certainly is a feel good musical show and although at first you only get snippets of their songs it builds up and during Act 2 we get more! We hear some classics including Great Balls of Fire, Hound Dog, Riders in the Sky, See you later, Alligator and more …
We are treated to a mini concert at the end – a standing ovation and everyone comes back out, the audience still on their feet and everyone rocking ‘n’ rolling – brilliant!!
A very deserving 5 out of 5 stars.
Tickets cost from £24.50 to £42 (booking fees may apply).
Million Dollar Quartet is at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend from 13-18 March 2017. For more information or to book tickets visit southendtheatres.org.uk or call the box office on 01702 351135.
Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA | 01702 351135