Last Night A DJ Saved My Life – New Wimbledon Theatre Review

Published by Daniel Bennifer on February 4, 2016 7:25 pm
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The Hoff tackles his wild child daughter, the emergence of the drug craze and the death of disco in Last Night A DJ Saved My Life at the New Wimbledon Theatre.

There’s nothing quite like the theatre. It’s a place where creativity blossoms at its very finest, and new forms of entertainment are welcomed with open arms. The show we’re looking at today is a prime example of that. Last Night A DJ Saved My Life is a new musical starring David Hasselhoff, of Baywatch and Night Rider fame.

Now, the theatre isn’t a new foray for The Hoff. He has an illustrious past, having starred in panto productions, including appearing as Captain Hook in Peter Pan. And, though he’s previously performed in a number of musicals from the Broadway debut of Jekyll & Hyde to Chicago, and even a stint in The Producers, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life is an interesting one, even for someone with as varied a career as Hasselhoff’s undoubtedly is. Yet, it’s one that pays off in spades, as we’ll soon explain.

The new musical comes from the creators of Dreamboats and Petticoats and Boogie Nights and while Hasselhoff might be the key attraction for many audience members – especially older theatregoers – familiar with his earlier television work, the show doesn’t solely rest on his shoulders. Far from it, in fact. There’s a solid cast of 18 performers and musicians who build up the show and hep deliver an experience that will make you want to get out of your seat and dance the night away.

It’s good, then, that not only is dancing and singing allowed, but is encouraged. As is the taking of pictures throughout the show. A rarity in the theatre. But this isn’t Shakespeare. It isn’t meant to be. It’s light-hearted and a trip down memory lane.

The premise of the show is rather straightforward. The Hoff plays Ross, a self-proclaimed hedonist and Ibiza’s top 80’s DJ. The owner of a club, he fails to see that a new decade has dawned. Disco is dead and he must adapt with the changing times. All that’s about to change when he’s paid a visit by his teenage daughter Penny (played by Stephanie Webber from ‘The Voice’). Little does she know what awaits her once she lands in the partying hotspot of Europe.

Before the plane takes off from England, though, we’re introduced to a selection of characters from a bygone area, of whom will become an integral part of the show. This includes handsome holiday rep Rik (Shane Richie Junior), and dynamic duo Shazza (Emily Penny) and Amber (Natalie Amanda Grey). And, despite a delayed plane at the airport, the group of 18-30 holidaymakers eventually take to the skies. It is at moments in the show like this, that the classic soundtrack from the 80’s and 90’s comes into its own, as hits such as Whoa-We’re going To Ibiza (Venga boys) are slotted – rather fantastically, we might add – into the story.

Meanwhile, back in Ibiza, The Hoff’s character, Ross, is worried about the arrival of his now wild-child daughter. Having not seen each other for three years, after a messy divorce, there’s a lot he’s kept from her, including his new younger girlfriend, Mandy (Kim Tiddy from ‘The Bill’ and ‘Hollyoaks’). But before he can even break the news, his daughter arrives at the club – brought by a local general and close friend, after he fails to pick her up himself – to catch them in the act. From here, the show descends down a path of decadence, reminiscent of the clubbing scene at the time, with everything from booze, drugs and sex.

As Ross attempts to take control of his wild teenage daughter, who – rather stereotypically – falls for the charming and dashing Rik, he’s confronted with the onset of the drug craze and his girlfriend’s request of wanting more from their relationship. It’s a story of two generations colliding and ponders the question, how can one expect children to know any better, when their parent is troubled themselves?

 

The Hoff’s performance is truly electrifying.”

A thrill-ride through some of the biggest hits of the past 25 years, A DJ Saved My Life is an unbeatable night of fun for all ages – old and young.

We would be amiss if we didn’t take a moment in order to mention two more members of the cast, Tam Ryan, who plays bartender Jose, and Barry Bloxham, who becomes the villain of the show, Ebenezer. Ryan’s performance delivers laughs in abundance – and, is a splitting image of Manuel from Faulty Towers – whilst, Bloxham, who kicks off the drug scene and causes mayhem for The Hoff, receives booing in equal manner. Yet, despite Ebenezer’s eventual vilification, he is undoutebly a laugh-grabber, as well. And, at times when they are on stage - especially when alongside Shane Richie Junior – it is quite potentially the funniest of moments of the entirety of the show.

That’s testament to the casting itself, which is hard to fault. Yet, if we did have one complaint, it would be that Kim Tiddy’s singing prowess isn’t quite on par with her fellow performers and she’s often muffled out or almost unbearably hard to hear at times. This is in stark contrast to the rest, with everyone from Shane Ritchie Junior to Stephanie Webber, and even Hasselhoff himself belting out fantastic performances that match any West End musical.

And when you take that into consideration, it isn’t hard to understand why Last Night A DJ Saved My Life is such a blast. It’s a thrill ride through some of the biggest hits of the last 25 years, from Spice Up Your Life (Spice Girls) and Never Gonna Give You Up (Rick Astley) to Can’t Touch This (M.C.Hammer) and Papa Don’t Preach (Madonna). And, for those of you wondering – the Theme to Baywatch and True Survivor also make appearances, too much applaud from the audience.

Undoubtedly there is something for everyone at the theatre. Though, for younger theatregoers who consider it for the older generation, Last Night A DJ Saved My Life is a reminder that they couldn’t be more wrong. That isn’t to say this is an experience you have to be young to enjoy. Certainly not – as a quick look around the auditorium would confirm. There’s something for everyone to be found here. It’s an unbeatable night of fun for all age groups.

Last Night A DJ Saved My Life will run at the New Wimbledon Theatre until February 6. It is an evening that is not to be missed. To find out where the show arrives next, check out the official website.

 

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