Review: Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers, Sunderland Empire

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A TIMELESS list of classics makes this show a great night for any fan of blues music.

However, if you aren’t a connoisseur of Jake and Elwood’s work, it doesn’t offer much else to keep you entertained.

Some of the catchy, well-known tunes such as Shake Your Tailfeather, Respect and Riot in Cell Block No. 9 got everyone toe-tapping and singing along, despite the poor turn-out.

Perhaps it is reflective of the genre’s waning popularity, but the usually buoyant Empire seemed empty and listless until the final few numbers.

It is a credit to the enthusiastic and energetic performances of leads Brad Henshaw and Daniel Fletcher, who were backed up well by The Bluettes, that the audience ended up whooping, dancing and cheering along by the end.

Importantly, both leads were authentic and pulled off good impressions of the famous duo.

The first half lacked the shine you would expect from a professional theatre tour, and was affected from the very beginning by microphone trouble. There was also a timing issue during an early number when Henshaw missed a sound effect cue.

But the performance gathered pace from then on, and by the final number several audience members were on their feet dancing along.

My personal highlight was the note-perfect rendition of Under the Boardwalk, but I just felt the show needed some narrative to help along the people who weren’t so familiar with the Blues Brothers but were eager to find out more.

It was obvious that the show was brilliant for genuine fans of the music and I would whole-heartedly recommend it to them, however anyone else will struggle to find value in its niche humour.