REVIEW: Million Dollar Quartet, Chichester Festival Theatre, until Saturday, November 11.

The Million Dollar Quartet truly lived up to its legendary rock and roll billing on its first showing at Chichester Festival Theatre.

The company
The company

The musical tells of a magical night in rock and roll history when Sun Records owner Sam Phillips managed to get Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis to jam together at his studio for the first and last time.Based on a chance meeting on December 4, 1956, at the Memphis studio, the actors playing the Quartet brought the scene to life with explosive energy and voices strikingly similar to the original group.Martin Kemp played the man who created rock and roll, Sam Phillips and was a natural in taking up the slick producer role encouraging his four stars to stick with him and produce hits.Jerry Lee Lewis, played by Martin Kaye, was a brilliantly boisterous act on the piano replicating the least known of the four but one of the biggest personalities bringing comedy as well as classics like Run Wild Child and Great Balls Of Fire.Jerry’s relationship with Rock and Roll star Carl Perkins played by Matthew Wycliffe was one of the highlights of the night with Carl seeing Jerry as a nobody in the studio but Jerry continuing to pester him about his worth.But my hat really goes off to Robbie Durham playing Johnny Cash, giving the persona of the coolest guy in the room with the unmistakably deep voice of the man himself particularly with I Walk The Line.The only negative is that Elvis Presley played by Rhys Whitefield got lost behind the strong personalities of the other three and didn’t have a big enough part in the production despite his energy. However a nice surprise was Elvis’s girlfriend Dyanne, played by Katie Ray, bringing fantastic vocals to the musical especially in her cover of Elvis’s hit I Hear You Knocking. A great touch was an original image from the recording sessions projected after the four acted the moment out.Tickets from Chichester Festival Theatre on Written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux and directed by Ian Talbot.

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By Harry Cheesewright