Smokey Joe’s Café – Review

Act Now Entertainment
reviewed by Jenni Balow

If you had a fistful of dimes for the jukebox, you couldn’t do better than listen to this Broadway blast from the past as the Minack wraps up a sensational summer season with this glamorous, glossy, glitzy foot-tapping musical revue.

Smokey Joe’s Cafe, featuring nearly three dozen rock and roll and rhythm and blues hits from the past 60 years, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was the longest-running musical revue on Broadway and it’s presented by Act Now! a London-based performing arts group of young wannabies, who are simply bursting with song and dance talent.

There’s no dialogue, they just give it their all during a fast-paced couple of hours of classic hits including Jailhouse Rock, Poison Ivy, Young Blood, Spanish Harlem, Kansas City . . . and Yakety Yak – remember that?

The band, headed by Dave Roberts, could headline this show all on its own, especially with a driving blues number Don’t Mess Around With Me, belted out by a Tina Turner in the making.
There are stand-out solos like Don Juan, Dance With Me and Pearl’s A Singer, great duets including You’re the Boss and Love Me, and Loving You, a super-charged Teach Me How To Shimmy, a hippy-hippy Hound Dog, as well as a company in full impressive harmony with D.W. Washbourn and the finale Stand By Me.

Director Matthew Chandler, choreographer Wendy Sinclair and costume designer Linda Rees demand impeccable footwork and rapid changes from polka dot frocks to sequins and boas, to give this show its snap, crackle and pop.

Did someone mention the X-Factor? They’ve got it!