Celebrating the legendary jazz musician Fats Waller and his energetic, exuberant and effervescent music, Ain‘t Misbehavin’ steps back into the 1920’s and the raunchy nightclubs of Manhattan. Join an extraordinary group of performers on a journey through a defining period of American musical history, the Harlem Renaissance – where musicians were free to experiment with new styles, and joints were jumpin’ with talented dancers, singers and instrumentalists jamming to a new beat known as swing.
Fats Waller was an American singer, musician and entertainer during the Jazz Age of the 1920’s and 30’s. He quickly became one of the most popular performers of the age and his music was quickly lighting up dance halls across the US and Europe. He is somewhat overlooked by modern audiences but Ain’t Misbehavin aims to change all that by bringing his music along with all the energy and glamour of the age to the stage.
This isn’t what you might expect from a musical, it has no narrative and more closely resembles a Fats Waller musical review, this may be a choice that is not fully enjoyed by some audience members however it does allow the emphasis to remain solely on Waller’s music and with the amount of charm, energy and joy emanating from the performers it’s hard to feel like anything is missing.
The Jazz Age is often romantasised and this doesn’t do anything to buck this trend, it’s a feel good show that allows the audience to escape the modern world, put on their gold-tinted glasses and leave their cares behind. The entirely gold set and stage really adds a decadent luxury to the show which is matched in the detailed costumes and really shows the glamour of the age.
The whole cast are fantastic all-round performers and excel both vocally and within their dance performances. It’s hard to believe Renée Lamb is so new to the West End stage having previously having her first professional role within in the original cast for Six only last year, she is definitely one to watch.
Ain‘t Misbehavin’ is a high energy, toe-tapping, nostalgia filled musical review that is a must watch for anyone whose a fan of the Jazz Age. Catch it at the Southwark Playhouse uintil the 1st of June, tickets are £27.50 and can be purchased directly from the Playhouse website.