Tag Archives: Cavin Cornwall

Rip it Up – The 60s

Garrick Theatre

Rip it Up

Rip it Up – The 60s

Garrick Theatre

Reviewed – 28th February 2019



“The energy and precision of the dancers shines throughout the show”


The ‘Rip It Up’ team comprises about fifteen incredibly talented dancers, singers and musicians who form the backbone of this 1960s ‘Nostalgia Fest’ currently running at the Garrick Theatre. They are the powerhouse that drive what is essentially a vehicle for four ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ celebrities. It is clear from the outset that the ensemble is far more watchable than the frontmen. What is also clear is the fact that you are not going to learn anything new whatsoever about the decade.

“If you can remember the 1960s, you weren’t really there”. The four headliners – Harry Judd (from McFly), Jay McGuiness (from The Wanted), Aston Merrygold (from JLS) along with Olympic champion Louis Smith MBE – are all too young to have been there anyway; so there is no danger of any insightful anecdotes interfering with the banal banter eked out from them by MC Cavin Cornwall. Fortunately, we have a video back projection featuring veterans (mainly Lulu) to fill us in with some suitably superficial soundbites.

But let’s not miss the point. This is a dance extravaganza, not a history lesson. And while I admit to being a bit of a ‘stick-in-the-mud’, I did have a good wade and I can reveal that there are some real diamonds in there. Most notably a stunning routine that pays homage to Bob Fosse’s iconic ‘Frug’ (as featured in “Sweet Charity”). The energy and precision of the dancers shines throughout the show, bringing to the fore the varied inventiveness of Gareth Walker’s choreography. The fab four figureheads are given plenty of scope to show off, while generously acknowledging and complementing the unsung heroes that fuel the furnace. Dance Captain Scott Coldwell is a ball of burning energy that fires the cast into a machine precisioned chorus.

A solid four-piece band, headed by lead singer Jill Marie Cooper, provides the sonic backdrop: a faithful reproduction of the sounds of the sixties, with some musical surprises courtesy of Barnaby Dickinson’s imaginative rearrangements of the Beatles’ hits from the later years.

But for all the high energy, it is altogether a bit of a stew as we plough through a predictable line up of watersheds including the British Invasion, the West Coast music explosion, Woodstock, the Mods, Psychedelia, Motown, Bacharach, the Beatles and the Stones; bogged down along the way by Cornwall’s tiresome commentary. Like those late night, backwater ‘Best of…’ TV shows, whose style this is emulating, there is an inevitable tendency towards repetition, borne from a need to fill the time slot allotted.

If it lacks the X factor, there is no denying that there is an abundance of the fun factor. While aimed predominantly at the Strictly fans there is enough in the pot for everyone. Like the decade it represents, you just have to let your hair down and enjoy it for what it is. “Rip it Up – the fifties” preceded this, and I now find myself looking forward to them shedding the cheesecloth and donning the glam and glitter for “Rip it Up – the Seventies”.

Keep on Rollin’…


Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography courtesy Rip it Up


Rip It Up - The 60s

Rip it Up – The 60s

Garrick Theatre until 2nd June


Last ten shows covered by this reviewer:
Dear Elizabeth | ★★ | Gate Theatre | January 2019
Director’s Cut | ★★★ | The Vaults | January 2019
Out of Step | ★★ | Drayton Arms | January 2019
Police Cops | ★★★★ | The Vaults | January 2019
Queens of Sheba | ★★★ | The Vaults | January 2019
Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) | ★★★★ | The Vaults | January 2019
A Beautiful Noise | ★★★★★ | Lyric Theatre | February 2019
Can-Can! | ★★★★ | Union Theatre | February 2019
Not Quite | ★★★ | Hen & Chickens Theatre | February 2019
The Grand Expedition | ★★★★★ | Secret Location | February 2019


Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com


All-star West End cast announced for

The Color Purple –

in Concert


An all-star West End cast is announced today for a one night only concert version of The Color Purple at London’s Cadogan Hall on Sunday 21 May at 6.00pm.

The Color Purple tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of a woman who, through love, finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world.

The Color Purple is being staged to raised funds for The British Theatre Academy, a unique performing arts programme that has inspired and nurtured the talent of thousands of young performers over the past 30 years. The concert will feature a chorus of over 40 current BTA participants.


The cast features:

Wendy Mae Brown (as Sofia) West End roles include Oda Mae Brown in the original cast of Ghost the Musical; Hattie in Kiss Me Kate; Serena in Porgy and Bess; Joanne in Rent.

Cavin Cornwall (Mister) Currently appearing in Disney’s Aladdin at the Prince Edward. He was Caiaphas in the recent Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Other West End roles include Curtis Shanks in Sister Act; Crown in Porgy & Bess; Billy Flynn in Chicago.

Tyrone Huntley (Harpo) Currently appearing as C.C. White in Dreamgirls at the Savoy. He won the Emerging Talent Award at the Evening Standard Awards and has been nominated Best Actor in a Musical at this year’s Olivier Award for his Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. He also appeared in the original London casts of Memphis and The Book of Mormon.

Rachel John (Shug) Recently returned from Toronto where she played the role of Nicki Marron in The Bodyguard, also in the West End. Other West End roles include Felicia in Memphis; The Lion King; Sister Act; three years as Meat in We Will Rock You. It has recently been announced that Rachel will play Angelica in the UK première of Hamilton.

Hugh Maynard (Pa) West End roles include John in the most recent revival of Miss Saigon (nominated Best Featured Actor in a New Production of a Musical in Broadway World Awards and Best Supporting Actor in a Musical in the WhatsOnStage Awards); Simba in The Lion King; Clopin in Notre Dame de Paris; Marvin Gaye in Dancing in the Streets; Sister Act. He recently became the first black performer in the UK to play the iconic role of Sweeney Todd.

Seyi Omooba (Nettie) Currently appearing in Headlong’s Junkyard at Bristol Old Vic. She received rave reviews as Sarah’s Friend in Ragtime at Charing Cross Theatre.

Marisha Wallace (Celie) The American star of Dreamgirls, she is currently the alternate Effie at the Savoy. Her Broadway shows include the original casts of Something Rotten! and Disney’s Aladdin.


Creative team:

Musical Director James Taylor
Choreographer Mykal Rand
Producer Matthew Chandler
Producer and Casting Director Danielle Tarento


The BTA is auditioning for young people to take part in The Color Purple. You can register at



A Charity Gala
for The British Theatre Academy

Sunday 21 May at 6.00pm


5 Sloane Terrace,


£75 (premium seats), £45, £32.50, £19.50


Box Office: 020 7730 4500



Based upon the novel by Alice Walker and the Warner Bros/Amblin Entertainment Motion Picture. The Color Purple was produced on Broadway at the Broadway Theater by Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, and Quincy Jones. The world premiere of The Color Purple was produced by the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia.