A SLICE OF SATURDAY NIGHT
Book, Music & Lyrics by The Heather Brothers
Why ‘A Slice of Saturday Night’? Normally, at this time of year, we’d bring you a musical full of pop songs. However, if you came to the theatre in October you would have enjoyed the sixties treat, Daydream Believer. So we looked for a show with original music but not too far away from the culture of yesteryear.
Katie and I saw ‘Slice’ in London in 1989 and the memory stayed. It’s one of those infectious shows that just screams ‘sit back and enjoy’. And for those of us hovering around the 50th birthday mark, A Slice of Saturday Night might well bring back some happy memories.
The sixties can be split into three distinct periods. 1960-62 saw the last remnants of rock n’roll. 1963-66 saw the transition from old-fashioned ideals to independence and a fresh approach for a new generation. 1967-69 was most definitely the period of free love, flower power and the whole world turned on and tuned in. A Slice of Saturday Night occupies that middle period from 63-66. Music was dominated by the Beatles . Conventional ideas on fashion and style were turned upside down.
There was a ‘Club A Go Go’ (the setting of our show) in every town. The most famous was the Cavern in Liverpool. If you spent your youth like I did, west of London, you would have gone to the Ricky Tick clubs. Occasionally we all travelled up to the West End, it was cool to be seen in The Flamingo and The Marquee.
A big thanks to the Heather Brothers, four guys from Sussex who plucked a Saturday night from any week between 1963 and 1966 and turned it into a great slice of entertainment. Enjoy!
It’s becoming something of a Christmas and New Year tradition for pop music nostalgia freaks to flock to Upstairs at the Gatehouse for the annual festive musical. Following the great success of From a Jack to a King and It’s Only Make Believe, this year’s offering is a revival of the show in which Dennis Waterman starred in the West End.
The heart-warming and humorous tale is set in a London disco, Club A Go Go, circa 1963-1964 – and deals with the clumsy attempts of three young girls and three young men to attract the opposite sex. The show pokes affectionate fun at the fashions, culture and music of that Beatles-inspired period – pitched somewhere between the death throes of rock ‘n’ roll and the arrival of flower power and free love. Whereas other similar musicals have parodied the music of the 50s and 60s by using actual songs from the period, A Slice of Saturday Night is a lot cleverer.
The writers, the Heather Brothers, have come up with an excellent repertoire of original songs that pay homage to the musical styles of the day, without actually copying any of them. All the songs sound like something familiar …. and then they don’t. Recognisable riffs, hooks and phrases are interwoven with their own stuff and it’s great fun spotting the influences.
Experienced Gordon Kenney, in the central role of club owner Eric “Rubber Legs” de Vene, holds everything together very well and is superbly supported by a young and talented cast, in which Jessica Williams, as Frigid Bridget and Sarah Langton, a graduate of Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, as Sue, are the outstanding singers.
Anyone aged around fifty something will find the non-stop foot-tapping, hand clapping action of this show hard to resist but it will also strike a chord with anyone who’s ever been 17. I defy anyone to leave this show without a smile on their face and a happy heart.