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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 That'll Be The Day

📍 Queen's Theatre, 100 Boutport Street, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 1SY

🗓 Thursday 8th September 2022



Last night was my first viewing of the brand new production from the juggernaut of touring theatre That'll Be The Day. The show is now entering its 37th year of continuous touring (minus the pandemic of course).

The show acts as a timeline of musical history, opening in the 1950's with the birth of rock n roll, through the swinging sixties, into the sensational seventies and culminating in the electric eighties.

Every summer, the production is completely reworked by writer/director Trevor Payne, which is part of the secret of the shows longevity. Of course certain songs and artists have been repeated over the years, but essentially the audience is treated to a brand new show each year. This keeps it fresh and is one reason that audience members return time and time again.

The show is led by Payne who introduces the certain separate production pieces throughout and guides us through the story of popular music. He also performs as icons such as Cliff Richard and Neil Diamond and has the audience singing along to the Bruce Channel classic Hey Baby.

Another string to his bow is his comedy. Payne is a great comedian and gives an interesting version of Favourite Things from The Sound of Music as Harold Steptoe! He also turns Mick jagger into a stand up comedian, but when teamed with his comedy partner Gary Anderson, the audience are crying with laughter.

The comedy is also very much in keeping with the show and Anderson uses his seamless impersonation skills to give a great performance as Bruce Foresyth as he introduces Sunday Night at the London Palladium. He really knows how to work an audience and is an absolute joy to watch on the stage. There is a long running joke that he wants to sing Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison but is thwarted at every turn by Payne's ingenious efforts to stop him!

Anderson also has an impressive singing voice and uses his velvet smooth vocals to bring us a Tom Jones classic and competently leads the opening of Act 2 as Jake Blues.

Long standing vocalist Nikki Renee Hechavarria brings her trademark smile and professionalism to her performance. She seems to belt out big numbers with effortless ease and gives memorable performances of songs such as River Deep Mountain High and Flashdance (What a Feeling). She is equally as good at singing ballads and her rendition of To Know Him is to Love Him is calming and wonderful. She transitions easily between the eras and you always feel that she is having a great time on the stage.

The newest vocalist in the show is Beccy Brennan. Brennan has just joined this production and is already establishing herself as part of the team. She has a rock edge to her voice which aids her in giving great vocal performances of songs such as Shout, Respect and Sweet Nothings. Her performance of Pearl's a Singer was perhaps my favourite moment of the evening.

Together Hechavarria and Brennan sang Killing Me Softly which was elegant and breathtaking. Their voices blend together beautifully and it's hard to believe they have only just started singing together.

The final member of the frontline is master vocal chameleon, and the very definition of versatility, Peter John Jackson. Seeming to completely become the person he is performing as, Jackson gives stunning performances as artists such as David Bowie, Paul McCartney, John Denver and Gene Pitney. When his performance of The Platters classic Only You concluded the audience erupted with applause.

That'll Be The Day can perhaps boast having the hardest working band in theatre history! Clive Fishlock not only plays a multitude of instruments throughout the show, but he also lends his superb vocals throughout including leading a tribute to the Beach Boys. Fishlock even opens the show as renowned pianist Ivan Awful-Itch!

Fishlock is also responsible for all the vocal arrangements in the show and writes the script for the yearly pantomime as part of That'll Be The Day's now legendary Christmas Show.

Jarrod Loughlin on bass guitar is full of energy and comes forward to showcase his vocals giving a solid performance of Flowers in the Rain and had the whole audience dancing in their seats in a glorious rendition of Footloose.

Loughlin's John Lennon, teamed with Jackson's Paul McCartney, leaves the audience spellbound. Close your eyes and you'd believe it was actually The Beatles on the stage.

Mark Street steps out from behind his drums to lead a triumphant a-cappella performance of Get a Job and kicks off the 80's section with his rendition of Take on Me.

Ollie Gray on guitar leads the band in a performance as The Shadows and showcases his singing and guitar playing skills by performing Country Boy. Gray's voice is especially suited to the country style and his guitar playing is mesmerising to witness.

The final member of the band is Phil Hollender. The only band member not to step forward, Hollender's contribution is just as important. A stalwart of the show, his performances on the keyboards pull the entire sound together and he completes the jigsaw of the show wonderfully.

Anyone who loves good music and a healthy dose of comedy will absolutely love this show. It takes you on a rollercoaster of a journey with ingenious production pieces woven throughout.

Act 1 takes you from the early rock n roll hits through to the summer of love. Act 2 opens with a Blues Brothers production piece and gives us country rock from the seventies alongside some of the biggest hits of the 80's.

The lighting operation and design by Mike Stevens can only be described as epic. It fits the show so well and helps to lift the entire production to another level.

Morgan Beecher is in charge of front of house sound and never lets the audience down.

You are guaranteed a great night out with That'll Be The Day, no matter what. Last night we were all reeling from the news of the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. The entire audience stood for a two minute silence before the show commenced and then sang the national anthem and finished with a round of applause in honour of her.

That'll Be The Day is touring all over the UK with this production until November, when the show then switches to its Christmas production. This version then takes to the road again between January and June 2023.

All tour dates can be found at where you will also find show information and cast biographies. You can also leave the company a message on their digital guest book.

All show merchandise including programmes, DVD's, CD's and t-shirts can be purchased at

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest and free from influence.


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