REVIEW: WALK RIGHT BACK @ THE RIVERFRONT
🎭 Walk Right Back
📍 The Riverfront - Kingsway, Newport, Wales, NP20 1HG
🗓 Saturday 11th June 2022
HARMONIES FROM HEAVEN
I wasn't sure what to expect from this production from the creators of That'll Be The Day. Was it going to be a tribute act or was it going to be more of a Jersey Boys type show which tells a story with music interspersed throughout? Turns out it was neither! Actually it was a mix between the two!
The shows two main stars were Luke Wilson who sang the part of Phil Everly and Lars Pluto (great name!) who sang the part of Don Everly. This show takes you through the career highs and lows of the most famous vocal harmony duo of all time The Everly Brothers, which for the most part is narrated by Atlantan born Pluto. His Southern twang gives a certain authenticity to the piece and his interactions with Wilson are charming.
Pluto sang the lead vocal and had a good voice but for me it was Wilson's beautiful high harmonies which really stole the show. He sang so effortlessly and its almost as if he could sing over any other performer and make it sound like the Everly's.
We are not invited to believe that Wilson and Pluto are actually The Everly Brothers, rather just two guys who love the music and want to share the story with the audience.
The script written by Clive Fishlock was informative and gave us a real insight into the lives of the Everly's. The first half took us through their early career, their first hit record ('Bye Bye Love') and up until their dramatic falling out in 1973 where Phil Everly walked off the stage leading to 10 years where the brothers didn't speak to each other.
One small negative for me was that parts of the first act felt a bit stop - start, meaning that there was quite a lot of dialogue between songs. This was however necessary and not dull, just an observation.
I absolutely loved the Alan Freed Rock & Roll Party piece as this was lively and allowed some of the band members to take centre stage. Tom Wright on lead guitar came forward to portray Buddy Holly with great authenticity. As someone who is a massive Buddy Holly fan (and therefore very fussy!) I thought Wright was awesome in this role and would have loved to have heard more of his vocals. His performance of Raining In My Heart, which is a song very special to me, was stunning. He is obviously a very accomplished musician and lead the band in a tribute to "Mr Guitar" Chet Atkins.
Rick McKay came off bass to give us his version of Johnny Cash and although he didn't sound quite like him, he had a good tone to his voice and was still enjoyable to watch and to listen to.
We also learnt a lot about the song writing duo of Boudleux and Felice Bryant, who were responsible for writing some of The Everly Brothers biggest hits including Wake Up Little Susie, Love Hurts and All I Have To Do Is Dream.
Act 2 opened with the song Like Strangers which was played over a montage on the screen at the back of the stage, which was leading up to the reunion of the brothers at the Royal Albert Hall in 1983. I would have liked it if this song had been performed live rather than just a recording being played, but the boys did a lot of singing and this was just a minor, perhaps selfish, want.
The second half was more of a concert, although we still had some story telling. There were once again some beautiful vocal performances from the boys, including the very popular and extremely sad song Ebony Eyes.
The band were great and alongside Wright and McKay, there was Eduardo Neto on drums and Seán McAusland on keys. Brazilian born Neto was great on the drums and looked like he was having the time of his life on the stage. He is also without a doubt the best person I have seen playing that very popular instrument, the glass Coca Cola bottle! McAusland demonstrated great attention to detail and even came forward onto bass at one point, showing great versatility.
Overall, this is a great night out at the theatre and with the production team of Trevor Payne, Peter John Jackson and Ollie Gray, there were high expectations. With the addition of audio visuals by Jarrod Loughlin, the production came together wonderfully. If you are a fan of The Everly Brothers, or just that era of music, then you are guaranteed to love this show.
The show is touring the UK until July 9th and is definitely not to be missed. The company will also be embarking on a tour of Canada in September and will be touring the UK again next year. For all up to date information and to book tickets visit www.walkrightback.com. Show merchandise including CD's and T-shirts can be purchased at www.oneknightonly.com or in the theatre foyer.
Please note: all views are my own and I pride myself on being honest and free from influence