Godiva Rocks, Belgrade Theatre, until October 21
The Orchid Ballroom, now the Kasbah, is at the centre of this nostalgic musical.
The dancehall in Hillfields was once the place to be in Coventry if you were young and wanted to hear the sound of 1960’s soul music.
Parallel storylines reflect these 60s glory days and 80s plan to have it demolished to gentrify the area and create apartments ‘for yuppies’.
The time-span allows many songs from the periods to be included.
The singing and dancing numbers were excellent throughout, thanks to an energetic, talented cast and a tight and versatile onstage band. Both female leads at times held the audience spellbound during solo pieces, and the numbers when all the cast joined together were crowd pleasers and brought some electricity to the stage.
However, the hardworking cast are not always best served by an over-complicated and confusing plot and under-developed script.
The electricity reflected in the musical contributions is therefore sadly lacking elsewhere. Perhaps to preserve the feel-good factor ‘Godiva Rocks’ undoubtedly has,1980s Coventry and the gritty, difficult times it went through doesn’t much feature, and it’s all a bit bland as a result, in contrast with another Belgrade production from the past, ‘Three Minute Heroes’, which also celebrated Coventry’s musical heritage.
The success of this production is its feel good factor. The audience clearly enjoyed references to a city they loved and showed this by the enthusiastic reception they provided at the show’s end.
It will be popular with citizens of a certain age who recall all the Orchid’s subsequent rebirths, and would like to relive some of those times.
Pictures by Robert Day.
Main pic: Rebecca Botterill, Alexia McIntosh and Aimee Barrett as The Jaguars
Above: The cast of Godiva Rocks in full voice.