Reasons to be Cheerful, Belgrade, Coventry, Saturday, Sept 9 only.
This brilliant show starts slightly oddly and slowly, but quickly explodes into life – and then keeps on exploding with fantastic performances of the great Ian Dury songs that everyone of a certain age remembers so well.
It’s billed as a raucous musical, and it certainly is that. The story, set in 1979, centres on the desperate efforts of Vinnie and his mate Colin to see their hero Ian Dury in concert. But the show is sold out and there are twists and turns along the way – very funny at times, sad and poignant at others. And the plot ties in with the songs very cleverly.
The performances of the songs are nothing short of terrific. Billericay Dickey, Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, Hit Me With Your Rythmn Stick, all brought the house down. The actors had to interrupt the applause. The sound quality, incidentally, was excellent.
Dury was an unlikely pop star of course, older than most and with a withered leg caused by childhood polio. And what adds an extra twist to the show is that it is a Graeae Theatre production – a company that puts deaf and disabled performers centre stage. The cast’s performance of Spasticus Autisticus was brilliant and intensely moving. They managed to bring a whole new dimension to the song.
The cast were all excellent and the integration of sign language and captioning, a signature characteristic of Graeae productions, engaged everyone in the packed Belgrade.
The show finished with a new song introduced by John Kelly, lead singer, reflecting on cuts in support for disabled people. There were many knocks for the Tories during the evening; this was just the last one.
One warning: There is a lot of language some may find offensive and some sexual references. But if you want a great fun show, this is it. Well done, Belgrade.