Five Guys Named Moe is an experience, to say the least, and it begins the moment you exit Marble Arch tube station! You’d be forgiven for wondering where Marble Arch Theatre is if you’ve not been there before, but all becomes clear when a giant pop-up New Orleans bar appears before your eyes!
Entering the venue you’re immediately thrown in the deep south with everything from the music, décor, cocktails and sweets selected to ensure a superbly immersive event – not at all your traditional theatre foyer, but certainly a fantastic surprise! In addition to the pre-show offerings; jazz on arrival, hurricane cocktails and Reese’s peanut butter cups, there’s a show to see and it may not be what you expect!
Director Clarke Peters doesn’t have much to work with in terms of script but he certainly manages to take audiences on a journey; one that I like to call ‘The 5 Stages of Moe.’
Stage 1: Anticipation
Following the immersive introduction, audiences are well primed (and lubricated) for a night of song and dance and it doesn’t take much for the toe-tapping the start.
Stage 2: Confusion
“What have I signed up for?” We’re 20 minutes in, 5 guys appear to have materialised from the radio and neither their origin nor purpose has been addressed. Even Nomax (Edward Baruwa) in a rare excerpt of dialogue comments; “I don’t know why you guys are here, but it seems like you’re going to sing again!” Indeed, Nomax they are!
Stage 3: Detachment
Not much is going on at this point. We’ve no shortage of songs but it appears more and more unlikely that anything of substance will emerge from the plot.
Stage 4: Resistance is futile
You’ve danced in a conga-line, enjoyed another cocktail and participated in an audience sing-along – that escalated quickly! You find yourself grinning from ear to ear, humming along and bopping away. Suddenly, you realise your attitude has shifted and when you look to your companion her answer to “Wait… do we love this show now?” is an unwavering, “Yep!”
Stage 5: The long dance home
You’ve sung, you’ve danced, you may well have been awarded the envious title of ‘honorary Moe/Moette’. All that’s left to do now is dance your way home – after stopping off for one last drink with the Moes of course!
This show is completely lacking in story, in fact, the script leaves much to be desired. That said, what it lacks in narrative it makes up for with energy in spades! The company of 6 have a phenomenal chemistry and unity on stage and, along with their sense of fun, the feeling is infectious. The harmonies are divine and complemented perfectly by the phenomenal orchestra. Andrew Wright’s choreography is simplistic where necessary and engagingly excited when the moment calls for it. It is flawlessly executed by the cast, particularly Dex Lee in the role of Know Moe.
So where does that leave us? My advice; don’t expect a story, and don’t expect to make sense of it! Go for the fun, the music, the dancing and the atmosphere. I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.
Review by Cassandra Griffin
A once in a lifetime experience awaits as you enter the Marble Arch Theatre, designed specifically for the show. Be transported to a red-hot 1940s New Orleans jazz club, complete with a wonderfully authentic cocktail bar and band-stand.
Featuring the irresistible hits of the original king of jazz Louis Jordan, including Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby, Early In The Morning, Choo Choo Ch’Boogie and, Saturday Night Fish Fry, Five Guys Named Moe is a theatrical event like no other.
Directed by Clarke Peters (The Wire) with musical staging and choreography by double Olivier Award nominee Andrew Wright (Half a Sixpence, Singin’ In The Rain, Guys & Dolls), inspired by Charles Augins’ original choreography.
This high-octane production is the ultimate celebration to lift your soul – book your tickets now.
Five Guys Named Moe
Marble Arch Theatre, Marble Arch, London, W1C 1CX