The Final Countdown is billed as a 80s rock and pop spectacular but it seems that the definition of spectacular has changed in these last few months. Tonight there are no fireworks; tonight there is no live band. Instead, what we have is karaoke; well sang, but karaoke nevertheless.
What is spectacular, however, is the venue, a jetty alongside the imposing Battersea Power Station, its brick facades slowly being replaced by glass. The modern high rises in Vauxhall tower behind the narrow stage, their lights ever brighter as the sun disappears, and they offer a view of the city that we haven’t quite seen before. The mild breeze that curls along the pier provides a gentle wind machine for the five singers who belt out tracks released many years before they were born.
The choice of songs is uninspired; for the most, the five singers, once performers in West End musicals, have selected American middle-of the-road songs. We have the likes of Africa, I’ve Been Waiting For A Girl Like You, and You’re the Voice, all performed to a insipid backing track, its bass seemingly muted. The performers all have good voices, especially the man wearing the Dr Pepper T-shirt, but their enthusiasm can’t ignite much energy into this dull selection of American hits.
More interesting are the two European numbers, China in Your Hand (performed by Chaka, who unfortunately did not sing I Feel For You, by her namesake) and Take On Me, with Dr Pepper effortlessly reaching the high notes. The rest of the songs begin to blend into blandness, saved only by Livin’ On A Prayer, coming towards the end.
Some of the audience members, so starved of entertainment, were up on their feet dancing throughout most of it and some sang along with voices louder than the performers. But if you’re paying £28 for a deckchair for a show that lasts barely an hour then why not make the most of it?
The Turbine on the Jetty runs until 19 September 2020