Blues Brothers Approved rocked the theatre, with the audience having a bit of a boogie and singing along to the familiar songs. This upbeat musical, based on the cult 1980 film starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, follows Jake and Elwood on an eventful tour of the US. Soul, rock, R&B, blues and jazz were combined well and delivered strongly by Brad Henshaw as Jake and Chris Chandler as Elwood, with the sharp suits and signature moves they are known for. The Bluettes in their sparkling dresses and smooth band members on the pub-themed stage gave the show a real concert feel. And William Hazell had the audience chuckling away with his solos in a series of wild costumes. This energetic show.
Brad Henshaw is taking on the role of Jake, and what a powerhouse of fine vocals this guy has. From the early songs of ‘Hey Bartender’ and dressing up as a bumblebee for ‘King Bee’, Brad really showed us his range in a fine rendition of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’. Chris Chandler’s harmonica playing Elwood is a fine pairing indeed, with his love of Country music in ‘Rawhide’ and ‘Stand By Your Man’, and again showing great high end in the classic ‘Under The Boardwalk’.
But it’s not just about Jake and Elwood Blues. If I could take my hat off, then it would go to Alexus Ruth, Janessa Qua and Jenny Fitzpatrick who are the collective backing singers The Bluettes. They were sounding magnificent together, lush harmonies and a lot of powerful solo moments for songs such as ‘Respect’ and ‘Think’.
Understudy William Hazell also comes on for a couple of numbers, in particular Cab Calloway’s ‘Minnie The Moocher’, one of many songs where the audience participate and sing along.
With a six piece band playing along, Dave Foster on keys, Alan Mian on bass, Rufus Rufell on guitar and Tony Jones on drums, they do sound rather awesome. The two horn players in particular, David Mian and Ricky Mian, would give The Phoenix Horns a run for their money without a doubt.
Top this all off with a superb lighting show, a very nice sounding system, and it is the recipe for a fantastic couple of hours, and the audience seemed to think so too whilst dancing along and standing ovations at the end.