BWW Reviews: THE BLUES BROTHERS... APPROVED, New Wimbledon Theatre, February 19 2013


Two years on from his last ripping up of New Wimbledon Theatre, Brad Henshaw is back as Jake Blues, this time with Chris Chandler as Elwood. They're still in white shirts, shoelace-thin ties and black suits, they're still belting out soul classics and we're still singing along. It's not exactly new, it's not exactly challenging and it's not exactly polished - but it's The Blues Brothers, and it does what it says on the tin.

As Jake says, it's a tribute show, but, with John Belushi gone almost 31 years now and Dan Ackroyd in his 60s, the iconic look, the banter and the chasings from the cops are almost part of the furniture these days. It's less a double act that's being honoured as the songbook that Jake and Elwood revere.

With songs as timeless as Gimme Some Lovin', Do You Love Me and Soul Man, the Brothers can hardly go wrong - and, thanks to a splendid band and the backing vocals of the bedazzling Bluettes, they don't. If Jake and Elwood can't dance - if you don't count that goofy one-footed hopping - they can sing, even essaying a fine Stand by Your Man and delivering a showstopping With a Little Help From My Friends.

With so many tribute acts around these days, any big production needs to stand out. This show is plenty of notches above the kind of thing you get in a pub on a Friday night, with plenty of Vegas razzmatazz and plenty of love for the songs. And the audience - so crucial at shows like this - has plenty of love for the Brothers too.

The Blues Brothers... Approved is at New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday 23 February and on tour.

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