Here's what we learned from the opening night of London's vibrant new musical.
Thursday 14 September 2017 and the stars of stage and screen descend on the brand new purpose built Marble Arch Theatre for the official opening night of Five Guys Named Moe. The musical transfers all the magic of the typically huge productions and places it in the heart of one of London’s most iconic attractions. Famous faces at the opening include actor Freddie Fox who, half way through the first act, is encouraged to take part in the evenings’ on-stage proceedings, as well as comedian, actor and TV personality Matt Lucas, and Christopher Biggins. All enter the stunning entrance bar alongside tonight’s expectant audience, ready to experience a musical like none other.
With Five Guys Named Moe now booking until late November, here’s everything you need to know about the musical extravaganza based on the work of pioneer Louis Jordan.
What is Five Guys Named Moe about?
The show opens with central character Nomax drinking his sorrows away, listening to the works of Louis Jordan on his radio. He’s downtrodden and far from sober, as five individuals appear in his living room. Following some seriously cool musical introductions, they reveal themselves as Big Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Little Moe, Eat Moe and Know Moe. Each has a different lesson to teach Nomax, who by the power of jazz, is encouraged to look inwards to find the solutions to his problems.
Find out more about the show, and meet the incredible cast, in our video below:
Who is Louis Jordan?
Five Guys Named Moe surrounds the work of the legendary Louis Jordan, who dominated the world of R&B in the 1940s. Dubbed the father of rhythm and blues, and the godfather of rock and roll, Jordan’s hits include Choo Choo Ch’Boogie, which spent a whopping 18 weeks at the top of the R&B charts. Similarly, Ain’t Nobody Here But The Chickens, which is given a hilarious new lease of life during the production, celebrated 17 weeks at the top. The show also includes his seminal works Saturday Night Fish Fry, Caldonia and Jack, You’re Dead, as well as a haunting rendition of the stunning Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t (My Baby).
Jordan has been cited as being influential to the work of Ray Charles, Little Richard, Roy Brown and Chuck Berry. The latter declared a huge debt to the work of Jordan who kickstarted rock and roll. In 1987 Jordan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, just three years before the original premiere of Five Guys Named Moe.
The history of Five Guys Named Moe
The musical production first opened in the West End in 1990 at the Lyric Theatre, following a run at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, and opened on Broadway in 1992. The production was directed by Clarke Peters, who also oversees the latest outing at the Marble Arch Theatre. During its time, the musical has won the coveted Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.
What is the new Marble Arch Theatre?
Situated in the heart of London, the purpose built theatre transports visitors straight into 1940s New Orleans. There’s an entrance hall, complete with island bar on which a brilliant live jazz band welcome punters. Grab a drink, some ice cream and popcorn, and immerse yourself in the authentic vibe. It really is like no other theatre in London. The pre-show and interval are as much part of the performance as the actual musical.
The entire performance takes place in the round, with the cast working their way through the audience. They make use of the entire space, creating a truly unique visual spectacular. There are a fair few surprises as the evening progresses, which we’d be loathed to spoil here. Needless to say, you’ll be tempted to grab your own dancing shoes.
Watch a time-lapse video of the theatre’s construction below:
What can fans expect from Five Guys Named Moe?
It’s a high-octane celebration of life, love and music. The atypical venue transports audiences to a different time, but doesn’t stop there. The energetic performance by the small cast is truly spectacular, leading a vibrant momentum that captivates the audience. The songs are above all else fun, underpinned by the brilliance of the live band. The occasional moments of audience participation are clever. Far from intimidating, they draw each ticket holder right into the heart of the action. Smiles are almost guaranteed as the story brings all the vibrancy together into a jaw-dropping theatre experience.
Watch the video below to find out what other visitors to the show have been saying:
What are the critics saying?
Critics have understandably been blow away by Five Guys Named Moe. Here’s just some of the highlights from reviews following the opening night:
“SASS, SOUL, SEX APPEAL. Pure entertainment, total fun! – *****” – whatsonstage.com
“Slick, breathtaking and ON THE MONEY! – ****” – The Telegraph
“A pop-up circus tent turned into a New Orleans jazz club. Brilliant numbers, great fun and so full of energy. – ****” – The Times
“Tip-top brass with lots of sax! – ****” – Daily Mail
“‘Scorching and exuberant – ****” – – The Stage
What else do I need to know?
Five Guys Named Moe is now open at the Marble Arch Theatre in London. The must-see show is currently booking up until the 25 November 2017.
Tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.