Reviewer: Carol Lovatt
Roy Orbison may no longer be with us in person but his music lives on with authenticity through the amazing voice and uncanny resemblance to the great man as portrayed by Barry Steele.
Celebrating The Music is a nostalgic production bringing all of the Big O’s extensive collection of songs together, in an impressive show which spans decades of hits. It showcases the ability of a man who moved from the early days of rock and roll, to the more contemporary laid back vibes of the Traveling Wilburys with both ease and panache.
The show celebrates the fact that Roy would have been eighty years old this year. Even Elvis said: “Roy Orbison is quite simply, the greatest singer in the world.” Praise indeed. To Roy’s adoring legion of fans, which still very much exists today, the opportunity to see a singer such as Steele is an absolute treat, as he really is as close to the legend himself, in both sound and looks, as it is possible to find.
Steele has played all over the world recreating the magic of the Big O on stage for thousands of delighted theatregoers. An unassuming man, Steele started life as a serviceman in the RAF before realising that he had a special ability and talent that matched Orbison.
The show tells the story of Roy’s life on a personal level through his music – which was influenced by experience, as both are so inextricably linked. Orbison had tremendous success over many decades but with it came incredible heartache with the death of his young wife and sons. One wonders how it might be possible to move on from such pain when in the spotlight but somehow he did to the admiration of legions of fans.
Hit after hit is associated with the Big O and Steele delivers them to perfection. All the classics are included in this show such as Only The Lonely, Blue Bayou, Running Scared, Penny Arcade, Crying, It’s Over, You Got It, I Drove All Night, In Dreams and of course, Pretty Woman as well as many more, much to the joy of fans who confidently sing along to some of the tracks which goes to prove that Orbison still lives on in the hearts of so many.
Alongside Steele on stage is a great band who provide a wider repertoire of musical genres such as instrumental and Sixties’ classics to entertain including music by the Spencer Davies Group and The Shadows. In particular, Barney ‘Boogie’ Williams on keyboards, who also performs as Jerry Lee Lewis, is dynamic. Williams has the audience jumping in their seats with renditions of Great Balls Of Fire and Shake Baby Shake. The lovely Fiona Ford also delighted the audience with her versions of Cilla Black’s You’re My World and Anyone Who Had A Heart. The inclusion of audiovisual on the big screen, relaying images of Roy Orbison and chronicling his life through pictures and facts, all adds to the realism of the show and ensures that the audience leaves with a greater knowledge and understanding of the impact of a music legend.
When Roy Orbison was asked how he would like to be remembered he just stated that he would like to be remembered. Steele as Roy Orbison is not only playing homage to that legend but he is ensuring that the music of the man known to many as the Big O, remains alive and fresh today in a show that excels in musical authenticity and is a visual spectacular. This is one show which is definitely worth seeing.
Reviewed on 1 September 2016 | Image: Contributed