What an invigorating and ultimately moving spectacle ‘Teddy’ is.
“Real Rock and Roll is about heartache, misery and pain” and this imagined Bonnie and Clyde of a specific finite snapshot in time, when Teddy boys and girls co-existed with 50’s traditional values, certainly bears out this mantra.
‘Teddy’ is essentially a beautifully written ode to the disaffected youth of a displaced post-war society; an era of angry young men famously described in Osborne’s ‘Look Back in Anger’; the Rock ‘n’ Roll era precipitated by Bill Haley and the Comets in which the teenager was born.
The dualogue of clever poetry and story arc are beautifully put across by protagonists Molly Chesworth and George Parker , with Molly’s performance particularly engaging (her multi characterisations were mesmerising). George also displayed a fine vocal range and both were on point dancers.
The pair were well supported by a fabulous live soundtrack penned by award winning composer Dougal Irvine and performed with comic flair by Harrison White and Andrew Gallo, a sexy Imelda May style Freya Parks and led by Dylan Wood as the powerful and authentic 50’s heartthrob they’ve all been waiting for Johnny Valentine.
The set and lighting design along with bar and auditorium furnishings were suitably evocative of the era and helped set the mood of the piece.
Special mention must go to choreographer Tom Jackson Greaves who gave us a most enjoyable 50’s style dance workshop before the main event, which along with the live Johhny Valentine and the Broken Hearts gig at the end in which we were invited to join the cast onstage, gave us a truly immersive experience.
With the advent of post-war Britain and the teenager ‘’the world would never be the same again”. With all encompassing immersive performances such as this, neither will theatre.
Reviewed by Nicole Faraday
Photo: Scott Rylander