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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke

REVIEW: THAT'LL BE THE DAY @ WESTLANDS

🎭 That'll Be The Day


📍 Westlands Entertainment Venue, Westbourne Close, Yeovil, BA20 2DD


🗓 Sunday 8th October 2023


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


GOOD ROCKIN' FROM START TO FINISH!


That'll Be The Day was created by Trevor Payne and first performed in 1985. Over the years and decades that have followed the show has developed and grown into the mammoth production it now is. The secret to its success is that the show gets an annual rewrite, meaning that each summer brings a brand-new production. This keeps the show fresh and ensures that their huge loyal fanbase keep coming back for more.


It's no secret that after following this show for almost 30 years, That'll Be The Day is a firm favourite of mine. A couple weeks ago I had my second viewing of the current production when the show played the Westlands Entertainment Venue in Yeovil.


That'll Be The Day is a whirlwind, high energy trip through the history of popular music, opening in the 1950's and working right up to the 1990's in chronological order. The show cleverly weaves through the eras with a selection of mini production pieces and we're treated to things such as the TV spectacular Oh Boy!, taken through the summer of love and there's even a Top of the Pops countdown.


That'll Be The Day is a real rock and roll party!


The show opens with a high-octane medley of rock & roll hits of the 1950's and the energy never lets up. The audience was up for the party from the beginning and songs such as This Ole House, Lipstick On Your Collar and Roll Over Beethoven really set the pace of the evening.


Trevor Payne still writes and directs as well as performing in the production. He gives an uncanny performance of Summer Holiday as Cliff Richard and turns Mick Jagger into a stand up comedian before rocking to Let's Spend the Night Together. He also gives convincing performances of Picture of You and Stuck in the Middle with You.


Trevor Payne goes on a Summer Holiday as Cliff Richard


Alongside the songs, there us a big comedy element to the show and alongside Payne, established comedian and impressionist Gary Anderson creates a double-act with impeccable timing. Over the years they have honed their skills and their partnership is unrivalled in any other production. The comedy is as nostalgic as the music and we get an appearance from children's TV star Andy Pandy!


Anderson also has a powerful singing voice and he uses his vocal instrument to perform wonderful renditions of songs such as Jezabel and Knock Three Times. He also gives a fantastically accurate performance of Elvis Presley during his Vegas years and when he sings American Trilogy a wealth of emotion showers the auditorium. It's always an utter joy to hear Anderson sing and his velvet vocals are a real treat for the ears. This years show stopping performance comes from his rendition of Please, Release Me where the audience recieves the warmest of vocal hugs!


Hello Baby! - Gary Anderson as the Big Bopper


Singer Nikki Renee Hechavarria has been a part of the show since 2008 and has solidified herself as a firm fan favourite. Her contagious energy emits from the stage as she gives high octane performances of Nutbush City Limits as Tina Turner and I Wanna Dance With Somebody as Whitney Housten.


Newcomer Gemma Nelson has a uniquely versatile voice which easily lends itself to the many eras covered in That'll Be The Day and she easily transitions from early hits such as Walking Back To Happiness and These Boots Are Made For Walkin', to a beautifully sublime rendition of Carole King's It's Too Late before rocking the house with Turn Back Time as Cher!


Nikki Renee Hechavarria and Gemma Nelson bring the glamour to the show


I have always said that That'll Be The Day has one of the hardest working bands on the road, and this performance confirmed this. On the night I went they were missing three members for various reasons and with only one cover on stage, they managed to pull off a seamless performance which is to be applauded. Ollie Gray switched from playing lead guitar to the drums and gave an energetic performance throughout, and Kevin Oliver Jones stepped in on keyboard and also got to show off his vocal talent as he performed Needles & Pins.


Returning to the show this year is Peter John Jackson, who covered the lead guitar at this performance. He was outstanding as he led the band in a rendition of a massive hit from The Shadows. Jackson has an incredible singing voice and vocal range and gives sensational performances of huge hits such as He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother and It's Only Make Believe. His performance of Don't Look Back In Anger was perfect, and for me this was real nostalgia, having been a teenager when Oasis were huge.


The final cast member is Jarrod Loughlin who is on bass guitar. A real charasmatic performer, Loughlin always brings a joyful energy to the production. Another versatile performer, he also plays guitar and sings glorious versions of You've Got Your Troubles and If Paradise Is Half As Nice and he had the audience on their feet as he performed Dance The Night Away.


Oh Boy! That'll Be The Day is a party from start to finish


I adore the inclusion of the 1990's in the latest production. This is something that has never been done before in the show, but now these songs are as old as the 1950's songs were when the show was first performed! Something else that I really enjoyed this year is that the songs are performed in full, rather than shorter versions. There are obviously still medleys to open and close each act but apart from that we're treated to full length versions of these great songs.


One of my absolute favourite pieces in the production was the opening of act 2 which was an awesome medley of Bee Gees hits, performed by the entire company. Payne gave a great performance of Massacusetts while Hechavarria shone as she sang Heartbreaker. Anderson and Nelson duetted on Islands In The Stream and Jackson performed You Win Again. The powerful piece also included hits such as Staying Alive, You Should Be Dancing and Tragedy.


Every aspect of this production is phenomenal and somehow this year the show seems slicker and more fast paced than ever. The lighting design by Mike Stevens is an absolute triumph and lifts the production to an even higher level and the AV content designed by One Vision Media complements the on stage action perfectly.


Nikki Renee Hechavarria, Peter John Jackson and Gemma Nelson are jive talkin'!


One thing's for sure, That'll Be The Day is an unforgettable night at the theatre! It's no wonder that people like me keep going back for more from this insanely talented and hard working company.


There was a real party atmosphere throughout the performance and along with my fellow audience members I enjoyed the perfect night out - we laughed, we sang, we danced! The finale had us all up on our feet as we partied to songs such as Tiger Feet, SOS, I Love To Boogie and Bad Moon Rising.


This current production of That'll Be The Day is running until 28th October before they switch to their Christmas show which runs until 17th December. This show then goes back on the road in January up until July 2024 before going through another rewrite!


Head to www.thatllbetheday.com to find all up to date tour dates and to book tickets. Official show merchandise can be purchased at www.thejacksonmerchcompany.com and will make a great Christmas present!


Neill Kovacic-Clarke


All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.


That'll Be The Day has an incredibly talented cast of singers and musicians


All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.


CAST AT THIS PERFORMANCE:

Trevor Payne; Gary Anderson; Nikki Renee Hechavarria; Peter John Jackson; Gemma Nelson; Ollie Gray; Jarrod Loughlin; Kevin Oliver Jones


RUNNING TIME (approx):

2 hours 55 minutes, including interval


Upcoming tour dates for That'll Be The Day

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