Rip It Up: The 60s at Garrick Theatre
Following a successful run of the previous decade in 2017, Rip It Up: The 60s embraces a cumulative homage to the era through a two-hour feel-good musical showcasing songs, dances and selective footage from this iconic period.
Directed and beautifully choreographed by Gareth Walker, the production falls into two equally energetic acts with eleven sequences that reflect the subtle changes as the decade blossoms. Separately renowned but with one thing in common – they are all celebrity winners of the Strictly Come Dancing series – Aston Merrygold, Jay Mcguiness, Harry Judd and Louis Smith seduce us with their musical prowess and passionate performances, whilst Cavin Cornwall comperes as the make-believe presenter of the TCB 1968 television special that keeps the piece moving.
Fluid scenes ignite the stage as audience participation is wholly encouraged. We have animated drumming from Judd, soulful vocals from Merrygold, graceful dance moves from McGuiness and gymnastic feats from olympian Smith as we are treated to both joint and separate dance numbers. From Beach Boy classics with surfboard props, to shimmering sequin Motown costumes for I got you (I Feel Good) by James Brown and elaborate confetti cannons that eventually bring the production to its finale. A troupe of established dancers match the exuberant energy from the quartet, displaying their perfectly timed moves and enviably toned limbs as they make full use of the entire stage space.
The performance is slick and predominately fast-paced, with a sprinkling of slower dance ballads performed in duets with female partners, mostly for the Strictly fans. A central screen provides the ever-changing backdrop to the otherwise static TV studio set – awash with slow-falling candy lollipops for Sugar, Sugar by The Archies, psychedelic swirls for a Doors number and interviews with showbiz legends like Lulu or Roger Daltry that help divulge the magic of the era.
Rip It Up: the 60s is a feel-good, high-energy show thanks to the fantastic production from Steven Howard and the apparent relentless energy that the cast pour into the show. Undoubtedly it will touch the sentimentality of the older generation, but the connection to Strictly and the celebrity cast bring it firmly into the 21st century too, defying anyone to remain in their seats for longer than the first ten minutes.
Rip It Up: The 60s is at Garrick Theatre from 7th February until 2nd June 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.