Saturday the 26th of November 2017, on a gorgeous, frosty night, saw the Million Dollar Quartet crew do their last show of what has been a lengthy and very successful tour.
To my surprise, the tour ended in my very own hometown, Ipswich. It probably isn’t the most picturesque town in the world, and I saw two piles of fresh vomit and a bitch fight on the way to the Regent theatre…BUT it is my town. And the thought of seeing my current favourite show on their last night without having to pay the expensive London train fares was a dream.
Naturally, I was on my own. Remind me to get new friends, none of them like the theatre and the one that does lives on the other side of the country.
The posters for MDQ being at the Regent have been up for months now and like a child waiting for Christmas, I have been counting down. There is something magical about getting to see a show and then have a ten minute walk home after. No worries about catching last trains or snuggling in with sweaty tube passengers. No, this was the life.
I have stated before how much I loved Johnny Cash and Elvis, so it’s no wonder this show turned into one of my favourites. However, last night was probably the first time I noticed that most of the audience were of a different era than my thirty-one years. It was lovely though, watching all the older couples coming in and people older than my parents dolled up in swing dresses and suits. It was quite classy for Ipswich. I didn’t get the memo on the pretty dresses so I went for comfort and warmth, ending up looking like a lonely, huddled up youth who had found herself in a theatre rather than at the local pool club or skateboard park. But anyway…..
I hadn’t seen Martin Kemp in the role of Sam Phillips before. He was a delight from the moment he walked on the stage. My favourite Sam Phillips of them all. There is something very charming about Martin Kemp. In the interval, I must have heard about six different sets of ladies say how sexy and charismatic he was. But more on the interval talk later because as I found out, going to the theatre alone means there is plenty of down time for eaves dropping and oh wow, there were some gems.
I adore Martin Kaye as Jerry Lee Lewis and last night was no exception. He had the audience in stitches with all of his goofing around and I have said it many times, that man is a genius on piano. What a talent. For many reviewers, he has been the stand out of the show. He deserves every bit of praise.
The atmosphere was crazy last night for a local theatre. I have rarely ever seen an audience so engaged with a show. I’m not sure how many people knew before-hand that it was their last show of the tour, but it was just so special and electric being there. By the end, everyone knew because somebody (can’t remember which one) mentioned it on stage. But last night, Million Dollar Quartet definitely made that Ipswich theatre light up like I had never known before. Magical.
I also had the pleasure of seeing the *new Elvis* played by Rhys Whitfield. *He’s new to me having previously saw Ross William Wild who was brilliant.* Rhys moved as Elvis like no other. He had that dancing down. He was sweet and gelled with the other guys just lovely. I never like to compare people who have played the same roles. It doesn’t get you anywhere, everyone brings something new to a role and both Rhys Whitfield and Ross William Wild have more than met my expectations on how an Elvis should be played. I would watch them both again as Elvis in a heartbeat.
The first act was perfectly performed and already had people bopping in their seats. The people around me were clapping throughout the earlier songs which is usually only seen in finale numbers for most shows, but as I have stated before, this show really is more of a Rock ‘n’ Roll concert than a rehearsed show. That is what makes it magical. The only disappointment that I have noted from the show is the fact everyone, including myself….wished it were longer. It is so enthralling that you could sit there for hours, though that would probably be a teeny bit unfair on the cast and crew to deliver a show like that for six hours straight for us selfish audience folk.
Katie Ray as Dyanne is one of my favourite girls in any show ever. Her vocals are flawless, she’s instantly endearing and the way she holds her own with a completely male cast is inspiring. The cheers she got after her songs were just as loud as the other applauses, if not louder. She is fierce and super talented, I would be thrilled to watch her again in a future show.
The interval came around all too quickly and I hurried to the toilets, mainly because I felt awkward sitting on my own. I have friends who go to the theatre alone and are perfectly OK and content to sit there, not caring that they are by themselves. I however, am not ashamed to say that I am a complete and utter wimp. So the plan was to hide for five minutes, but it didn’t work out that way. The Regent has a few sets of toilets. I chose to go to the one with just two cubicles. So I waited in a long line of ‘lovestruck by Martin Kemp’ women who all desperately needed a wee. I heard someone say she would divorce her husband for Martin. Another said she wouldn’t have the heart to do that to her spouse so the simple solution would be to become a bigamist. The two toilet cubicles by the way, happened to be up a winding stair case. Isn’t that ideal? I saw a few tipsy people make a job of the stairs, so I tried very hard not to be as clumsy as I usually am and it worked. After telling myself to get it together and convincing my mind that I am perfectly capable of sitting alone for the rest of the show, I made it back down the narrow, twirly stairs without incident (minus being knocked on the head by someone opening the door from the other side – may still be concussed right now, not sure) I decided the best idea would be to get ice-cream.
I mean….who wouldn’t want freezing cold ice-cream at a mortgage price in a chilly theatre on a frosty November night? Exactly.
So I went back to my seat, which by the way – the four seats either side of me were empty which probably had something to do with the fact I felt like a complete loser…. and opened my ice-cream. Strawberry actually. Then I realised that instead of just looking out of place, I now seemed weirder just blissfully munching on ice-cream while trying not to spill any in my hair or down my top which is a talent. A drunk man grabbed on to my chair from behind and yanked a good portion of my hair, by accident – I hope. Then an elderly chap in the row in front walked up to his wife with the gift of ice-cream. She didn’t want it and told him off for buying it, but he couldn’t eat it because of his sensitive teeth and anyways, he needed to have a tiddle. She asked if he meant a tinkle, and he said they were really one and the same, so off he went for a tiddle/tinkle while the ungrateful for ice-cream wife and her friend discussed what a man taking a piss should actually be called.
Then, to the left of me, I heard someone tell her husband off for enjoying the show too much and that the other couple they were sat with would think he was in love with old rock tunes instead of her. I think she was being serious because the husband did apologise to her and then professed his love very loudly.
Thank goodness the interval came to an end. Act two was absolutely rocking. I feel like the entire audience danced for a whole twenty minutes or longer at the end. It was the best, warm vibes going on in that place.
Since seeing the MDQ lot the first time, I have always held a soft spot for Robbie Durhams Johnny Cash. He’s just so good. I have been listening to his EP constantly since it’s release. It brings back gorgeous memories of the show. I probably waffled on about Robbie as Johnny quite a bit last time so I will try not to repeat myself, but him playing one of my faves of all time and playing it so well will always make him a firm favourite with me. Johnny Cash was quite an intense man, Robbie has that when he plays him as well as a lovable side. The way he hits those famous low notes are to die for and I have to say, he is probably responsible for most of my favourite songs from the show. I love the fact that the tour ending just means I have found new talents in the West End and Theatre Land who I didn’t know about before. I truly hope he goes on to something wonderful.
Getting up to dance for the end of the show (or in my case – trying to move in some sort of pattern that didn’t look like I was part robot) was actually quite emotional for the last time. I didn’t expect to feel a bit tearful, but I was. Or maybe my eyes were a bit watery because of the lady in front wearing strong perfume, who knows? It’s just so fun at the end and knowing it was the last time seeing this cast hit me.
Which of course brings me on to the superb Matt Wycliffe as Carl Perkins. Just excuse me while I cry a bit at the thought of never seeing that again. I mean, yes….he will be fantastic in any show. But what other shows will he get to play guitar backwards (insane) and wiggle his bum that looks really good in that outfit but I’m sure is the whole point all at the same time? Unless we start a petition? Leave it with me.
I love the way he plays Carl. A bit dark and brooding. He’s got stuff going on. But then he bursts into song and the smile appears and it’s all heaven. Then he goes back to being all intense and stropping. Then he knocks you out with the guitar again. (Not literally, he doesn’t want a lawsuit…) It’s probably no secret that I wouldn’t mind an entire show of just Matt and a guitar and piano. As long as he’s wearing Carl Perkins clothes of course because that is the deal. But I have always held a special place for the moodiest one in a show and this is no exception. He is a complete rockstar. Who also…just like Robbie…has the best EP out! Can’t tell you how many times I have listened to that one, the answer would be embarrassing. But it’s good. And I’m a fan in case it wasn’t clear. I’m certainly not the only one judging by the way he was getting mobbed in the lobby after the show. See? Rockstar.
It’s all over now. onwards and upwards for all of them. Thank you Million Dollar Quartet cast and exceptional crew. You have been a ray of sunshine. Thanks for making most of the country happy little rockers.
You went out with a bang.
(Come back. Come back. Come baaaaaaack) *Kate Winslet in Titanic voice.*
Rock and Roll is still alive people. Just live it.