Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

5 Guys Named Moe (Review) 5 Guys Named Moe (Review)
5 Guys Named Moe (Review)

It was rockin’ like a Thursday Night Fish Fry at the Marble Arch Theatre, where the audience witnessed; toe tapped and congaed to the amazing music of legendary ‘40s rock and roll saxophonist Louis Jordan. In the immortal words of Louis, the West End had never experienced such  scufflin’ and shufflin’ till the break of dawn.


Based on a very lose and thin plot that revolves around the five Moe’s popping out of a broken down radiogram in the disheveled flat of a down and heart, broke and drunk Nomax (Edward Baruwa). The five Moe’s then conspire through song and dance to turn his life around, rebuild his self-esteem and rekindle his romance with his sweetheart once again.


The real star and purpose of the show, is to showcase the prodigious musical and song writing abilities of one of the greatest talents the music world has ever known. As director Clarke Peter’s said “Louis Jordan’s music is integral to the show. His songs are entertaining, tongue-in-cheek and revolve around relationships.” He adds “the show also touches on the person of the man” who has influenced the likes of Bill Haley and John Coltrane.


From the very start to the last note, the show is stuffed to the gills with toe tapping, head nodding, hip shaking rhythm and blues, rock and roll and jazz classics that had the audience on their feet in a feel good night of music and theatre that many shows will have to go a long way to equal.


The cast of six without doubt do justice to many of Jordan’s greatest hits. Each Moe was a showstopper in their own way that it was impossible to pick out any outstanding individual.


From Big Moe (Horace Oliver), Four-eyed Moe (Ian Carlyle), Eat Moe (Emile Ruddock), Know Moe (Dex Lee) and Little Moe (Idriss Kargbo) each brought a special something to the show. Who could the delicious sweet falsetto voice of Eat Moe or the lithe, sexy hip shaking of Know Moe. It was a marvel to watch all of them dance and sing and get intimate with the crowd on a cleverly revolving stage that brought the action right to our laps (literally).


The amazing and timeless songs from the huge catalogue of tunes by Louis Jordan are without doubt the main star of the show. The audience was showered with classic after classic. From ‘Early In the Morning’, ‘I Like ‘Em Fat Like That’, ‘Messy Bessy’  to ‘Saturday Night Fish Fry’, ‘Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens’, ‘Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby etc it was a conveyor belt of hits that even Henry Ford would have found hard to rival.


The dancing and choreography were a joy to watch. Much praise goes to the Andrew Wright for keeping the whole show tight and incredibly meticulous despite its frenetic energy that left us drained as much as the actors themselves.


The only gripe is that interesting as it was, the circular pop up venue is not built for this type of theatre where the actors are constantly on the move. The seating was such that your view was blocked by the person in front which meant on many occasions side uncomfortable head tilting was necessary. A show of this quality really needs to be experienced in a ‘proper’ theatre.


However all said and done, if you want to experience the sights and sounds of Black Harlem in its heyday, you could do no better than hot footing down to Marble Arch. Not only will you hear excellent live jazz and RnB led by Steve Hill and Sean Whittle you’ll also experience toe tapping, high-tempo song dance from six outstanding actors that’ll remain with you as you board your train.


Five Guys Named Moe plays at the Marble Arch Theatre until 17 Feb 2018. Visit www.fiveguysnamedmoe.com/ for tickets and details.

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