The Blues Brothers - Live

Advertised as a five star crowd-pleaser from Fringe’s past, this show might be expected to drum up a frenzy. Unfortunately the experience was a far cry from these high expectations.

Of course, it was easy to crack a wry smile when Elwood and Jake bundled into the auditorium and this grin remained a permanent fixture on my face for the majority of the show. The tunes prompted toe-tapping from the older generations who seemed to have coalesced at the front, whereas the 90s generation had filtered to the back. However, the uplifting songs played expertly by the house band transcended the gap and were enjoyed by all.

The support acts in the show were a delight to watch and were probably the highlight. The lead female vocalist's rendition of Aretha Franklin's 'Think' was spine-tingling. Added to this line-up of characters are a preacher and a decrepit old male crooner played by the same actor who exhibits the finest display of character acting I have yet seen at the Fringe.

Contrary to this are the brothers themselves. Granted, their vocals complement one another well and all notes were near enough pitch-perfect. However the tame and repetitive choreography of the pair left me far more interested in the electrical troubles of the bassist behind them. The original Blues Brothers were stony faced: not exactly effervescent characters, but this dullness doesn't translate to the stage version well. The audience was almost left begging for some sustenance to keep them engaged.

The show remains enjoyable for the most part and never drops in energy. A promenade of famous numbers buoy the baying crowd of Blues Brothers fans. But the almost apathetic delivery of the eponymous characters left me waiting for an encore of 'Think' or the preacher to deliver another sermon.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

The Blurb

Hit show from West End producers Hartshorn and Hook rolls back into Edinburgh: suited, booted, ready for a night of rhythm and blues to remember. Hold on to your shades! 'Unmissable' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com).

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