Shake Rattle ‘N’ Roll (Athenaeum Theatre) – theatre review

A cavalcade of song, movement and colour, Shake Rattle ‘N’ Roll breathes new life into the sounds of the ‘50s and ’60s with entertainment aplenty. A poised and polished cast of five singers and eight dancers light the fuse and keep it burning for more than two hours. The pretence is the re-creation of famous, gravelly voiced American DJ Wolfman Jack’s radio broadcasts. He is even frequently pictured in silhouette on the large central video that forms a backdrop to the show.

Full songs and mash ups are the order of the day and the audience just laps it all up. For starters, there is Oh Boy, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On, It’s My Party and C’mon Everybody. A Buddy Holly impersonator takes to the stage before an Elvis incarnate (aka Anthony Petrucci). Ads from back in the day are mighty fun to listen to and watch – think Brylcreem, Mr Clean and a Chevrolet commercial.

Among the song brackets are numbers from the Everly Brothers and Bobby Darin before interval, along with a Razzle Dazzle medley. Grease is the word after the break, while the Jersey Boys are prominent with Sherry, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and Oh, What A Night. Johnny O’Keefe, Chuck Berry, Doris Day and Ritchie Valens are also on the program.

Alongside the smooth voiced vocals are muscular, lithe and leggy dancers, who – pardon the pun – don’t put a foot wrong. The slick choreography is the work of principal dancer Aric Yegudkin. Shake Rattle ‘N’ Roll takes a stroll down memory lane – I speak of poodle skirts, bobby socks and slick back hair. The costumes, which also include a diverse range of tuxedos, undoubtedly add to the flavour of the show.

The production celebrates its 30th year in 2023 and two of the original cast members are still at it. I speak of Glenn Craven and Rick Charles. Working alongside them are Jonathan Guthrie-Jones and J’aime Holland. Shake Rattle ‘N’ Roll is a most entertaining ear and eye pleasing show. It is on the Athenaeum Theatre on 2nd and 3rd September, before heading to Geelong on 10th September and Bendigo on 17th September. It makes its way to Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide on 1st October.

For more information and to book, go to https://shakerattleandroll.com.au

Alex First

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