This inventive reimagining of Five Guys Named Moe comes to Edinburgh’s Christmas Spiegeltent more than twenty years since the original west-end hit. Director Paulette Randall injects much energy and some feel-good-factor into this revival of Clarke Peters rather frail story, showcasing the music of jazz-legend Louis Jordan. Based loosely on Peters’ own experiences of a difficult relationship, we follow the journey of Nomax (Matt Mills); a drunk, depressed young man who we find wallowing in self-pity as he croons to Jordan’s songs on the radio, having just been dumped.
In his stupor, Nomax conjures up five guys named Moe, all ready to lend him a helping hand in finding the straight and narrow. Jordan’s music hails from the 50s and rather noticeably so to the females in the audience. That aside, the simple plot allows for a jam-packed jukebox session of Jordan’s greatest hits, all packing a punch with the aid of snazzy choreography from Jason Pennycooke. The neon costumes, exploding glitter, and psychedelic lighting are a feast for the eyes and certainly keep the show from ever getting stale, despite the songs sounding repetitive at times. The main attraction was a conveyor belt that circled the cabaret tables in the inner circle, bringing five energetic lads to a touchable distance and making the audience really feel part of the show.
Whilst the singing was broaching on The X Factor at times, each Moe had his own strong voice and character and the boys harmonised beautifully, with the delivery of the show-stopping Is You Is, Or, Is You Ain’t My Baby really showcasing the boys vocal skills in the spectacular finale.
If you want a bit of festive cheer and feel-good factor to go with your cocktail this Christmas then you’ll find bucket-loads of it here.
All photos taken by Manuel Harlan.