Review: The Bee Gees Story - Nights on Broadway, Ipswich Corn Exchange, March 4
- Credit: Archant
Known as The Irish Bee Gees, this mixed show by Tony Kelly (Barry Gibb), Dominic Feekery (Robin Gibb) and Peter Simpson (Maurice Gibb) was a pleasant treat for the small gathering of Bee Gee fans.
Featuring hits from the 1960s to the 1990s, the evening opened with a beautiful rendition of New York Mining Disaster 1941, a difficult song to emanate truth and meaning while holding the vocal range and ability The Bee Gees are so famous for. The trio made it easy to take an instant like to them and their band, who had great shoes to fill.
As they gathered to sing around one mic the hits of the late 1960s, the vocals certainly led you to believe the original trio were on stage with a classics medley of songs including Gotta Get a Message To You, I Started a Joke and First of May. By comparison to the rest of the show they would have done well to sing these in full and give the audience more time with them.
A couple of shaky solos were soon remedied with a beautiful tribute to the youngest of the Gibb brothers, Andy. When the tempo and atmosphere picked up with the late 1970s hits that had audience members boogying, clapping and singing along, it didn’t quite matter about the odd lyrical slip. With a bit of Irish wit and jovial audience interaction which some may have found a little cringey, they livened everybody up into almost an excited frenzy.
While the musicians were impressive, the visual effects left a lot to be desired. With background videos which filled the stage screen for the first half and looked as though the computer had busted in the second, it was pretty disappointing. The content itself varied, with great images of John Travolta showing you how he used his walk to the Hubble Telescope and belly dancers. It was an unnecessary distraction for a group whose talents didn’t need it.
Kelly’s Barry falsetto will certainly leave you impressed with the effortlessness of it and Simpson’s appearance as Maurice, his singing voice and movement truly cause one to do a double take.
There is certainly a lot jam packed into the show that would entertain the young and the old. The varying ages of the audience was certainly a reflection of this. The set was a clever one, including songs written by the Bee Gees - Grease, Islands In the Stream - that some may not have connected to them without knowing their in-depth history.
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For some diehard Bee Gees fans who know every note, every tune, every pace and rhythm of each song, it’s perhaps not quite the show you’re expecting. But it’s entertaining, with fun costume changes, great vocals and a lighthearted feel to the evening.