Five Guys Named Moe
  • By Pete Shaw
  • |
  • 15th Aug 2010
  • |
  • ★★★★★

With a budget that suggests they spent more in the lighting rig than most in Edinburgh spend on their whole show, the production values on Five Guys Named Moe are ridiculously high for the Fringe. But this isn’t a Fringe show, it’s a West End revival that just happens to be located 400 miles north of Shaftesbury Avenue for the month.Locked out of his house by an unseen girlfriend, Nomax plays his records loudly and drinks whiskey late into the night. In a moment of coup de theatre, Nomax falls through his gramophone into a world inhabited by the eponymous Moes, who are intent on teaching him a lesson á la Christmas Carol. Five Guys is not a traditional book musical. First performed in the West End in 1990, it’s an early example of the compilation shows such as We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia, based on an artist’s back catalogue. For Five Guys, the showcase is Louis Jordan, a Jazz saxophonist who - it is claimed - paved the way for Rock and Roll in the 50s.From choreography to costumes, the love of the world of Jordan shines through with stylistic and vibrant attention to detail. Musically accomplished from solo singing to harmony and terrific performances from Ashley Campbell as Little Moe and Carlton Connell as Four-Eyed Moe. Numbers like Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t Ma’ Baby and Caledonia evoke Jordan’s jump blues style and give the show an opportunity to draw you into their feel-good world. If the audience member next to you isn’t wearing a broad smile throughout this show, there is a simple test involving a mirror to check they’re not dead.There’s tight direction at work here, and a professional polish brighter than the smiles on the Moes themselves. The standing ovation at the end is a clue that talks of a London transfer must be a distinct possibility.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

Assembly George Square Studios

The House

★★★★★
theSpace on the Mile

Grace Notes

★★★
Greenwich Theatre

The Jungle Book

★★★
Greenwich Theatre

A Midsummer Night's Dream

★★★★
Multiple Venues

A Spoonful Of Sherman

★★★★★
Pleasance Theatre

Assassins

★★★★

The Blurb

A major revival of the smash hit West End and Broadway musical, starring the show's creator Clarke Peters. Featuring the greatest hits of Louis Jordan and some serious fun for all ages. Come join the party!