Based on Hamlet, ‘Roll over Beethoven’ is the story of Johnny Hamlet who is haunted by his father, who accuses his brother of his murder and demands that Johnny kills him
This musical, especially written for The Queen’s Theatre by Bob Eaton, is based on the Shakespearian play and marks a return to the theatre for many of the ‘Cut to the Chase’ cast, including Fred Broom who has been in a lot of recent Cut to the Chase productions, including the recent production of ‘Hot Stuff’ where he played Lucy Fur. He was fantastic, due to his role as a ghost, he was often in the background on the night and was a cornerstone of the show.
Unusually for a 50s Rock and Roll Musical it’s set in the UK and this fact is very much personified by the central character of Johnny Hamlet, played by Cameron Jones, who does an excellent job of representing England in the Disco-era with his combination of disco persona and East London Accent. With multiple solo performances on the night, the show takes full advantage of his amazing singing ability with ‘All Messed up’ and ‘Ode to Rock and Roll’ amongst the best songs from the night
While we mention singing, we have to mention Lucy Wells who plays Ophelia, the potential wife of Hamlet. This was Lucy’s first performance at The Queen’s Theatre and she had a fantastic voice. Just like Cameron Jones she performed several solos during the night and I can see big things for her in the future
The set was basic, with a simple layout of a street and the use of the projectors to change the backgrounds. The theatre was also making a big effort to bring in this American diner vibe on the night with American cars on show outside on the press night and traditional chocolate or strawberry ice-cream milkshakes also available on the night
This is certainly a theatre production that you will want to see again and the truth is you may need a second viewing of the show due to the large amount of cross-references and in-jokes that use references to 50s & Classical Music. Although ‘Roll over Beethoven’ uses famous 50s and classical music, it separates itself from recent Jukebox Musicals like ‘Mamma Mia’ by using new lyrics with the well-known tunes, often playing on the original lyrics for humorous affect and certainly had the audience in fits of laughter.
Although this is based on the Shakespearian Tragedy I wouldn’t defiantly not say that you are at a disadvantage if you have not seen Hamlet, as this only acts as a mild influence, but there may be one or two references you don’t understand during the night, for example the reference to Denmark at the very beginning.
The night was a lot of fun but I felt that the night sometimes suffered from two separate plots that did not meet until the second half, but once the story found its feet it was highly improved and the cast certainly deserved the standing elevation they received at the end
- Fred Broom – The Ghost
- Gregory Clarke – Auzzie
- Daniel Healy – Waltzer/Horace
- Cameron Jones – Johnny Hammlet
- Adam Langstaff – Guy
- Sarah Mahony – Gertie
- Steven Markwick – Henry Polonius/Vicar
- Antony Reed – Claud
- Tom Sowinski – Larry
- Al Twist – Ronnie
- Lucy Wells – Ophelia