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Five Guys Named Moe

Udderbelly's Pasture

Musicals/Opera Reviewed by Natasha Tripney

Though now best known as Baltimore detective Lester Freamon in HBO’s The Wire, Clarke Peters has had a long and rich stage career. Twenty years ago he wrote and starred in this popular musical, which is being revived in Edinburgh before transferring to the Theatre Royal Stratford East, the venue in which it was first staged.

Featuring the songs of Louis Jordan, it’s a jukebox show with very little plot to get in the way the songs. The premise redefines flimsy. Peters plays Nomax, a middle-aged loser, who, having been thrown out by his girlfriend, drifts off on a wave of booze and music. He’s then – literally – dragged into his radio where five dapper guys, called Big Moe, Little Moe, Four Eyed Moe, Know Moe and Eat Moe, attempt to school him on life and women.

It’s clearly the songs that matter most and Paulette Randall’s production keeps them coming. The whole thing is slick, lively and infectiously upbeat, even if the choreography by Paul J Medford (the original Little Moe) sometimes feels a little cramped on the McEwan Hall stage. The performances are energetic and there’s ample opportunity for the audience to get involved. Taken on its own terms it's so much fun that it's easy to forgive its thinness and just get swept up in the music.

Published online
Review by
Natasha Tripney
Published in The Stage Newspaper on
Produced by
Underbelly/Theatre Stratford East in association with Cameron Mackintosh Ltd
Clarke Peters, who also performs
Paulette Randall
Paul J Medford
Running time
1 hour 30 minutes
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