29 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, London W1D 7ES 0330 333 4812
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A tale of triumph over politics and unrest, in the tale of Jamaica’s global superstar Bob Marley.
The man, his music, his story, brought to life in an exciting new musical.
(seen at the afternoon performance on 26th February 2022)
If musicals were judged on sincerity alone, this one would be an off-the-scale hit. Every song and much of the dialogue brings out the true meaning of “one nation” espoused by Marley in his brilliant and so unfairly short time among us. His faith, humanity, and sense of justice shine as a beacon guiding not just record buyers but entire nations.
The trouble is, this really is a musical – a stage presentation rather than a concert or album, and it runs over an hour each way, a lot of time to fill and hold audience attention.
Sadly, Lee Hall’s book misses the opportunity to really tell the story, give it context and space to let Marley’s words examine themselves. No need for opposing political arguments to be presented, that’s for a show not celebrating the man and which is probably unnecessary anyway. Hall, however, misses every chance to deepen our understanding of the roots of the lyric – almost acting in the stifling manner Marley protests.
Still, the songs are gold, the performances as good as they can be. Declan Spaine as Marley is loose, flowing, overcoming adversity from the youngest age with determination and sharp self-awareness.
Wife Rita (Gabrielle Brooks) absorbs being the centre of circles she may not entirely wish to have around her with fortitude. Sadly, her big number “No Woman, No Cry” was destroyed by shocking audience behaviour, but it was clear she found meaning in it and Clint Dyer’s directorial decision was a sound one.
In smaller roles, Shanay Holmes as Cindy Breakspeare and Melissa Brown-Taylor as Marcia Griffiths flesh out well minor characters, Charles Blyth producing a sleazy record manager and concerned doctor with aplomb.
Chloe Lamford’s inspired set of a speaker bank rough and effective as Marley’s life is augmented by Charles Balfour’s Rastafarian lighting design and crystal-clear sound by Tony Gayle.
Even if it isn’t the historical music education the monkey hoped for, it is an effective reminder of the life and times of one of the greatest musicians and activists of the 20th century. There’s probably a better play to be written, but without the music there would be no soul and heart to truly allow us to feel.
Stalls A14. Seat was comfortable and had great leg room. Had to look up some, but not neck hurting. No one beside you on the right as the stage extends into the audience on a little runway. Missed most of what happened on it, but it didn't matter most of the time.
I was the person in the audience closest to the actor playing Bob Marley. At times he was literally less than arm's length from me. Was great being so up close to the performers for this show.
At the day seat price this seat is a fantastic value. For full price, I would have preferred to be a few rows back. The music was very loud here, so if that would bother you don't book this seat. At times it was vibrating from the bass.
Could see into the wings sometimes.
The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.
Tuesday to Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 2.30pm and 7pm
NO MONDAY PERFORMANCES.
Runs 2 hours 30 minutes approximately.
Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.
TO 18th SEPTEMBER 2022
FROM 20th SEPTEMBER 2022
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