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The Black Blues Brothers at 54 George Street, Edinburgh

Suitable for all ages, apparently. I don’t want to be a spoilsport, and having never gone down the road of having children I might not even be qualified to say it, but isn’t there something a bit odd about a family-friendly show that involves people coming within an inch or so of burning flames? As for the strip tease, well, it doesn’t exactly go as far as Boys in the Buff but there’s a moment at which one of the performers makes it clear he’s not up for taking his shirt off, thanks very much. He’s then peer pressured, before he has his clothes seemingly forcibly removed. That wasn’t entertaining, at least not to me. That was mean.

Black Blues Brothers, credit to Gabriele Tomè.
Black Blues Brothers, credit to Gabriele Tomè.

There were two moments of audience participation, one involving willing volunteers following the performers’ lead in doing the limbo: the show has a way of ensuring everyone is successful. The other involved a lady from the front row, brought on stage, and invited to take a seat, before the Black Blues Brothers attempted to charm her, mostly by appearing to fight over each other and thus win her over, as though she were a prize. I don’t have a feminist perspective on things (by default) – even so: oh dear.

Rant over: there’s still a lot to enjoy in a show that has, frankly, no discernible plot beyond that of bar staff who dream about making it big in the entertainment industry and then indulging such fantasies by performing in the bar where they work. The acrobatics are astounding, with excellent teamwork despite a recurring theme of rivalry between alpha males. There were Pinteresque silences, which allow the performers – and the audience – to catch their breath, but this didn’t stop some children in the crowd asking what was going on. I was asking the same question at least once, just not out loud – had they finished? No – even when one of them called an abrupt halt to proceedings, yelling, “Enough! Finished!” there was still more to come.

While some of the narrative fragments need to be brought up to date, the physical agility is second to none. The audience lapped it all up, resulting in an end-of-show standing ovation. Fair enough.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

If The Blues Brothers were a band trying to put themselves back together again, the Black Blues Brothers are an acrobatic group who reform on stage every night, bringing us a party full of dazzling moments set to the sweeping sounds of the cult movie’s soundtrack, one of the greatest pop legends of our times.

Writer and Director Alexander Sunny
With Bilal Musa Huka
Rashid Amini Kulembwa
Seif Mohamed Mlevi
Peter Mnyamosi Obunde
Mohamed Salim Mwakidudu
Choreographer Electra Preisner and Ahara Bischoff
Scenographer Siegfried Preisner, Loredana Nones and Studiobazart
Lighting designer Andrew Broom

The Black Blues Brothers are back – the acrobatic
celebration that’s thrilled the world returns
Assembly Rooms (Music Hall), 54 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2LR
Thursday 3rd – Sunday 27th August 2023, 15:05

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