Golden oldies roll back the years

rock heaven cast

Rock 'n' Roll Heaven

Malvern Theatres


This was a great toe-tapping trip through the years of Rock and Roll and included many of the great hits of the Sixties and Seventies.

The show itself has been running for a number of years and some of the cast have appeared more than once in the show's history. Almost a concert, the characters are maintained throughout each performance and in the interaction with the audience.

The evening unfolds the story of several of the Rock n Roll greats such as, Eddie Cochran, Roy Orbison, Del Shannon, Ricky Nelson, Buddy Holly and, of course, the 'king' Elvis himself.

Rock and Roll music has a very charming and innocent character to it, which is always appealing and appropriate to all ages, as was demonstrated by the widely differing members of the audience.

The songs are about love and finding 'the girl' (or cars) and this gives the music a fairly timeless quality, which all generations can appreciate and enjoy. The genre is generally upbeat and uncomplicated musically, thereby being more accessible and easy to listen to.

Each member of the cast appeared on stage to perform a few musical numbers, in character, and then usually introduced the next act to follow them, with some biographical information about the artist and their achievements. This was an all-male cast with some extraordinary musical talent, directed by Keith Strachan and supported by the design of Andy Walmsley. There was an effective set with a backdrop of photographs of the artists themselves, and a creative lighting display designed by Sam Wright with sound by David Preece. The overall production was impressive and reminiscent of the West End production of Jersey Boys in its style and genre.


Damien Edwards did much of the narrative as well as the characters of Del Shannon and Roy Orbison. His stage presence was highly confident and in the characters themselves, he showed his prowess in musicality, with some very effective solos and an impressive vocal range. He was confident in his interactions with the audience encouraging them to clap along.

Edward Handoll also gave a superb performance as Ricky Nelson and later, Buddy Holly. With not only some great vocal moments, but also playing all his own guitar solos, he showed an extraordinary level of musical ability. He was also a confident presence on the stage encouraging audience participation and building on the 'concert' feel of the show.

Jonny Labey gave a very notable performance in the role of Eddie Cochran, also playing his own accompaniment with great effect, and incorporating appropriate choreographic movements to complement the role.

Lee Memphis King, a successful tribute artist, took the role of the “King” of Rock and Roll, Elvis. He seemed somewhat more nervous and unsure in the first half, but warmed to the situation during the second half and became more interactive with the audience and more effective in, what has to arguably be, an incredibly difficult task; impersonating someone as famous as Elvis.

But this was done creditably and with good effect, even conveying the slightly confused state of mind that Elvis was in by 1977, although it was clear the impersonator had no musical aspirations to actually playing the guitar.

There were some really golden moments during the evening, especially in Roy Orbison's song 'You got it” from 1981, which was almost identical to his performance on Top of the Pops when it made a hit in that year. The show built to a climax with the slightly improbable combination of Buddy Holly, Elvis, Roy Orbison and Eddie Cochran singing together for the final medley, a great, rousing combination which had the majority of the audience on their feet dancing together to 'Pretty Woman'.

Throughout the show the artists were supported by an amazingly talented band comprised of Steve Geere (Musical Director and Keyboards), Steve Brundish (Bass), Antoine Edery (Drums) and John Hall (Guitar). The band held a very tight, professional sound throughout, providing musical links at the start and end of each act as well as the backing vocals. When the performers were not playing their artist, they were assisting in providing musical backing and vocals.

This was a great evening's entertainment with much to enjoy and some great, well-known catchy tunes for the enthusiastic audience to sing and clap along to; the show deserves to play to full houses every night of the run. To 30-08-14

Sonya Vickers


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