That’ll Be The Day does not hide the fact that it is cheesy entertainment, in the form of a variety show, but then nor do the crowd deny that’s exactly what they’re here for.
Back with a brand new show for 2011, the production runs through a back catalogue of 50s, 60s and 70s rock and roll mixed with some stand-up comedy and sketches.
Rockabilly dresses and classics from Connie Francis, Buddy Holly and the Coasters set the standard for the rest of the evening. A swift introduction to the King and the audience are screaming as if Elvis is actually standing in the room, then again, a squint of the eye and you could quite believe he was.
The musicians and singers are exceptionally good at what they do, not acting merely as a karaoke routine but as a sound-a-like tribute band for every number. The costumes are vital to maintain this façade, from Diana Ross’ red dress to Sonny & Cher’s flared trousers and waistcoats.
The flaw in the evening comes in the shape of some poorly structured comedy routines. Likely there to fill time between costume changes, the jokes, whilst well received, feel a lot like they’re looking for a cheap laugh. There is something quite unnerving about watching a man dressed as Mick Jagger tell “back in the day” jokes for 15 minutes. Likewise, spending countless time on a sketch involving a headmaster and two students and then not thundering headfirst into Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall, it all feels very disjointed.
For the 60s the audience are treated to Cliff Richard, Barbra Streisand and the Kinks among others. An ingenious part of the production is using the late Jimmy Savile’s voice and footage of Top of the Pops in the 70s to introduce new acts. Impeccable impressions of Tom Jones, Julio Iglesias and Freddie Mercury are a highlight.
Taking advantage of the location, some hits from the Bay City Rollers and the Proclaimers make sure the audience end the night on their feet.