RIP IT UP – London Palladium Review


Rip It Up they did! A stunning journey through the best of 1950’s Music with outstanding dancing provided by stars of the stage!

We were invited to go and see RIP IT UP at the London Palladium yesterday to see Strictly Come Dancing Professional Natalie Lowe, and Celebrity Winners Louis Smith and Jay McGuiness. 

We have seen a trend of Strictly Stars take to the stage and display their magical dance technique with Aljaz Skorjanec starring in Remembering Fred, Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone dueting in various shows together such as Midnight Tango, Dance till Dawn and the Last Tango, to the enigmatic Brendan Cole touring in All Night Long. So was this to be any different? Oh boy was it!

Taking our seat in the Palladium theatre we looked to the stage to see a minimalist set. No staging of a background theme. Just a few raised platforms and a permanent setting for the live band. I wondered how will they work this?

Well this is not a typical story, nor were we to witness any acting. This was to be a journey through the 1950s by the simplest of story telling in its truest form. Leo Green of BBC Radio 2  and who has played sax for Jerry Lee Lewis and Van Morrison in his early days and who happens to be the musical director for the show was to host and commentate through each act, engaging with, seeking participation and teasing laughs out of the audience at any opportunity he could. Leo would explain the period of the 50’s we would observe as it changed. Maybe this was to ensure that all the crowd knew what was happening –  Being based on the 50’s, it would draw an older age group who knew the scene and the Celeb stars bringing the younger audience that may not have been lucky enough to listen to this past era.

Jay McGuiness stars in this show, its been some years since strictly now but to see his talents being put to full use, elegant when needed and rock and roll ready at others, Jay demonstrated why he was able to navigate and become a favourite on the dancefloor, whilst this show also highlighted his singing. A far cry from his boyband days with ‘The Wanted’ who knew the floppy haired singer would now be a leading showman.

Louis Smith MBE showed off his gymnastic skills when given the opportunity and translates his skills to the dancefloor in his grace and footwork. He’s honest enough to say he feels out of his comfort zone when it comes to dancing but upon watching him in this, the stage is now his home.

Finally Natalie Lowe. The 11 time Australian ballroom champion, Strictly Dancing star in both Australia and the UK, turned down an opportunity to be on the show this year so she could tread the boards up close and personal with us, and for that we should be grateful. For Natalie not only stars in this but is the shows Choreographer. looking sexy and stunning as always we see Natalie grace the dancefloor through the songs, on point, precise and loving everything the 50’s was.

Starting with a mixture of artists we hear songs from Jerry Lee Lewis, Jackie Wilson and Billy Haley to name a few. Whipping the crowd into an excitable mood, we are here to have a good time! Then we are introduced to the mood of romance and love, listening through the style of vocal harmony The Chordettes and  Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers. Doo Wopping onwards through time, we also heard a stunning rendition of ‘What’ll I do’ by our fabulous singer for the night Jill Marie Cooper (who i’ll talk about in a moment).

Half way through the first interval was the time for a lost talent ‘Buddy Holly’, and a tribute to the legend he has become, having a few songs sung to reminisce what the world was lucky enough to hear in the short time he lived. Bad Boys and Girls came after with the Rebels and their causes with Funky Blues. Another introduction before the half time break from Leo told us about the influence from Latin America that made its way into the music scene and the first half then ended with an upbeat mood and the sound of ‘Tequila’

Twenty Minutes later and spending £10 on a programme (yes £10!), we were sat back in our seats for the second half. Kicking off with a tribute to another legend that left us early Elvis Presley. For those that didn’t like the hip shaking and rawness that Elvis displayed to the 50’s scene we had the more classic style of the Ratpack, here we were immersed into Las Vegas. Although I haven’t mentioned much yet at this point Jay McGuinness gave us a supreme cover of a Bobby Darins’ ‘Somewhere beyond the sea’.

Onwards to falling in love to hear such songs from Sam Cooke and Paul Anka, here if we weren’t already transported back to being teenagers falling for our first loves. Next came the guys and dolls era of the 1950’s and then finishing finally with us being the wild ones entering into the 60’s.

A nice touch just before the end was seeing each star in a short solo, then being interviewed by Leo Green. Giving the show a bit of a personal touch and intimacy it felt that the stars of the show were stopping to appreciate the audience and giving them an opportunity to catch their breath no doubt at the same time. A particular highlight being Louis Smiths’ no doubt rehearsed impromptu impersonation of Michael Jackson (who we find is a big influence on him and his brother) with the moonwalk showing his silky moves.

By the end of the show the whole audience are up clapping, bopping and waving hands in the air to the dark horse that is Leo Green. Through the show we have been guided through with words and his fabulous saxophone, then he stuns us with his voice also!!

I briefly mentioned earlier Jill Marie Cooper who alongside her sang with Oliver Darling. Jill was a standout performer and should have her own name on the billboard for this show. Her voice stunning throughout hitting some of the highest notes you will hear. Navigating the sounds of the 50’s like she was born performing in the time itself. If you haven’t heard of her before look out for Jill Marie Cooper now!

At the time of publishing the stars will be finishing their show at The Hexagon in Reading to the same standing Ovation they did last night. After a day off on Monday they will be back for the final 18 dates of this tour, having already performed an intense 25 prior.

If you haven’t bought tickets for this already then you must! A fan of the 50’s? Jay McGuinness? Louis Smith? Whatever your reason get to a show and let them ‘RIP IT UP’ for you!

Tickets available here