1950’s Rock n Roll was alive and back in Nottingham, as soon as the music hit and the lights beamed down on us we knew we all were in for an incredible evening of live music.
It was December 4th 1956 and Sam Philips (Played by Jason Donovan) on this night made history, he made Rock n Roll history by bringing together Johnny Cash (Played by Robbie Durham), Jerry Lee Lewis (Played by Martin Kaye), Carl Perkins (Played by Matt Wycliffe) and Elvis Presley (Ross William Wild) in one room where all their careers began, in Sun Records. It was a special night and the only night that these four men would be known as a Million Dollar Quartet.
Throughout the story we were shown how Cash, Lewis, Perkins and Elvis individually approached Sam, and how they each wanted to have Sam hear and record their music, this part of the show was done well, the lighting and mood would change allowing us to see the nervous moments each of them had when they were trying to make a name for themselves and do something with their lives.
The story would allow us to see the music plus the ups and downs bringing all these legends in place, it all took place on the cold December night at Sun Records, each of the guys would showcase their talent and vocal skills whilst Sam rushed around to make sure to get everything recorded live on tape, as this was his studio and he knew how to get the best sounds out of his artists. With Johnny Cash and his unique vocals plus adding Jerry Lee Lewis’ amazing work with his super fast fingers on the piano, then adding a guitar masterclass from Carl Perkins and not forgetting Mr Hollywood myself with Elvis Presley with his moving and shaking, blending them all together soon warmed up the room and at times it was too hot even for them to get along. Order was sometimes needed to settle the quartet down and this was often provided by Elvis’ girlfriend Dyanne (Played by Katie Ray) but she also added the added vocal to hit those high notes and her version of Fever was outstanding.
Could Sam Philips keep these outstanding artists from moving away from Sun Records? Was this the plan to get everyone together again and stay with Sun Records? Well you will need to find out what happened on that incredible night but seeing The Million Dollar Quartet at The Theatre Royal Nottingham while its still in town.
The Million Dollar Quartet was incredible as it would have been to have been a fly on the wall on that night back in 1956, throughout the performance the audience were singing and clapping along to each song performed and sung live by the cast and band on stage. There was a bit of everything with Million Dollar Quartet, you had the laugh and jokes of Jerry Lee Lewis, the tension between Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, plus a great story being told along the way.
I really enjoyed how the members of the Quartet performed their iconic songs such as ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ from Carl Perkins, ‘Walk the Line’ by Johnny Cash, ‘Great Balls’ of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis and ‘Hound Dog’ by Elvis Presley, it was great to hear different sections of the audiences cheering and singing along to their favorite songs, as their were fans for each of the Quartet in the building.
The stage and lighting worked well, each of the actors got their time to shin, even though the stage design was small and didn’t change, the lighting gave it that feel that we were in and out of the studio and experiencing each of acts own mini concert.
To finish a great evening, everyone was off their seats singing and dancing the night away, great work by all the cast and crew plus hats off to Jason Donovan for this role as Sam Philips he didn’t put a foot wrong and looked like he thoroughly himself.
Best Vocal Performance on the night by : Robbie Durham (Johnny Cash)
Best Comedy Performance on the night : Martin Kaye (Jerry Lee Lewis)