More 70’s mania – Boogie Nights the musical

boogie nights wyvern theatre
The 70’s – something to smile about
Widgets madam?

Having recently been to see the touring production of Abigail’s Party (which was very good) I decided to continue my 70s retro fest with a trip to see Boogie Nights, the musical, at Newcastle City Hall. Not to be confused with Boogie Nights the film, which was about the 70’s porn industry in the USA, and features a naked Julianne Moore and a well endowed character called Dirk Diggler – this Boogie Nights was apparently conceived by the multi talented Shane Richie (East Enders), and someone else in 1997. It features an impressive medley of ex reality TV show stars and a half portion of real Osmonds. Oh yes and the son of Shane Ritchie – Shane Junior. The ‘story’ described in the programme as ‘hilarious and heart warming’  is laughably bad and gives only the thinnest of threads to hang the songs around. Mama Mia this ain’t. Gareth Gates as Dean, was the runner up in the first ever Pop Idol. Will Young, the winner of Pop Idol went on to be a credible artist and actor and Gareth is in this. Louisa Lytton was an East Enders poppet and did quite well on Strictly Come Dancing. She is very thin indeed and can wear lycra without embarassment, but she can’t really sing. Quite important in a musical. Chico was actually a breath of fresh air as the comic relief and he can dance well and has an impressive physique which he displays quite a lot. Andy Abrahams was another X factor finalist. An ex bin man from Birmingham, Andy gets to do all the ‘black’ songs in Boogie Nights. He covers Barry White and wears a spectacular afro wig while singing ‘Shaft.’ He can sing though, so we liked him.

The boys are back

The appearance of Shane Richie Junior as seventie’s bad boy ‘Roddy,’ represented a theatrical first when he took over the role created by his father. It is the first time a role created by an actor has been inherited by his son. While Shane Junior makes us aware in the first five minutes that his father is the landlord of the Queen Vic and that his mother (Coleen Nolan) is a Loose Woman, acknowledging nepotism so openly means that you have a lot to prove from the off. Unfortunately Shane Junior fails on this front miserably. He is a mediocre singer and dancer at best and has inhereited little of his father supposed ‘bad boy’ charm. He looks alas a little more like his homely shaped mother and if I were to decide to be cruel I think he looked more like a lad you might find sorting the widgets in B&Q rather than a pop star. Apparently he dropped out of school to entertain at the Vauxhall Holiday Park. There you are then.
Then there were the Osmonds. Jay, Merryl and Jimmy are representing the Osmond family in this production. While one one now looks like an Eastern European Dictator and one looks like Father Christmas, little Jimmy still looks like little Jimmy, just after a really really hard paper round. And everyone went wild for the Osmonds. They are the genuine seventies article. They were one of the orginal boy bands, have been performing since they were knee high to a grasshopper and they can really sing. They sang all their hits (Gareth guested on Puppy Love) and they were consumate professionals. On the backdrop, images of their  handsome seventies selves morphed into their 2013 faces and then back again which was interesting. A ticket to see Boogie Nights isn’t cheap, but the royalties on the songs they get to sing are probably a fortune. The songs of the seventies are as fantastic as ever. Gloria Gaynor, Barry White, the Real Thing, Chicago, Sylvester, Earth Wind and Fire, Heatwave, The Village People, Michael Jackson – the list goes on and on. Despite a patchy cast this is still a big fun night out. If you’re a seventie’s fan, you will love Boogie Nights.

Gotta get up to get down