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The Barricade Boys – Turbine on the Jetty, London

Reviewer: Richard Maguire

As the Turbine Theatre’s summer festival draws to a close amid colder nights, the warm-hearted Barricade Boys sing songs from the musicals against the dramatic backdrop of Battersea Power Station, and the lights of Vauxhall. But without a live band ( sigh), the evening is a muted one.

Some might say that with voices like theirs, the Barricade Boys need no band to accompany them, but tonight’s backing track does the Boys no favours, especially when they reach their Jersey Boys medley, the brass of I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You disappearing into the chilly air. But with their neat choreography and their amusing patter, Lee, Scott, Kieran and Simon are easy to like.

As their name implies, some of the numbers they sing are from Les Misérables, a show that some of them have starred in. Other shows on their CVs include Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia and Phantom of the Opera, and coming together as a group a few years ago, they’ve proved very popular, particularly on the cruise ships.

Apart from Les Mis, they also sing a medley of songs from West Side Story, and, very energetically, The Blues Brothers. But their repertoire extends beyond the musical stage, and they perform Rock ‘n’ Roll tracks (Johnny B. Goode) and an entertaining medley of Motown songs. Their move into disco perhaps is not quite so effective, their voices too dramatic for the glitter ball.

They pack in as many classics as they can in 70 minutes, including the whole of Bohemian Rhapsody, and Phantom’s Music of The Night. At the close, a sell-out audience gives the Boys a standing ovation as they rush off stage in order to get ready for a socially-distanced meet and greet, their CDS available to buy. Inside a theatre with a live band, the Barricade Boys would be magnificent, but tonight only gives glimpses of their true talents.

Turbine on the Jetty runs until 19 September 2020

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