They’re usually pretty offbeat.
But they very rarely involve immersive, New Orleans-inspired cocktail bars; a revolving stage set inside a circular, vintage theatre space; or a troupe of five vocally and rhythmically blessed ghosts.
Happily, this one does.
It’s a euphoric revival of the Olivier Award-winning Clarke Peters musical, Five Guys Named Moe, taking place in the Marble Arch Theatre – a space which was just built for this kind of show…
…And we mean that literally, because it’s been specifically created for the revival, building a pop up slice of New Orleans around the retro wooden Spiegeltent. Venture inside, and you’ll find yourself at the heart of an authentic 1940s courtyard, garlanded by festoon lighting and boasting a wisteria-laden pergola with al fresco-style tables and chairs, pop up shops touting cheeseboards and American sweets, and a julep-slinging cocktail bar hidden beneath an entire bandstand, from which a live band serenade you into the performance space.
It’s the perfect whistle-whetter before the show itself; a non-stop, jiving and swinging tour through the greatest hits of R&B king, Louis Jordan. Taking your seats at the central cabaret tables or the stalls circling the arc of the stage, you’ll join the bourbon-soaked protagonist Nomax in his jazz-filled journey of redemption, learning from the five Moes – his spiritual counsellors that pop up from inside his radio, behind his armchair and, of course, through the bar – how to treat his lady right. It’s a whirlwind of a show, packed with dazzling costumes and quick-changes, stunning choreography, and, of course, an insanely catchy soundtrack of songs like Messy Bessy, Choo Choo Ch’Boogie and Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby – all brought to life by the on-stage jazz maestros, the Funky Butt Club Band.
There are conga lines into the bar, limbo competitions, tap dancing on tables and entire dance numbers revolving around chicken abduction. Essentially, it’s the most irresistibly toe-tapping musical you’ve ever seen…
Plus a little Moe.
NOTE: Five Guys Named Moe runs at the pop up Marble Arch Theatre until 24th March. Tickets cost from £10 and can be booked online HERE.
Five Guys Named Moe | The Marble Arch Theatre, Marble Arch, W1C 1CX
Image credits: Helen Maybanks
Making a night of it? Grab a bite at Kurobuta