Mercury Theatre, Colchester
‘Hello Again’ is said to be the world’s greatest celebration of the life & work of Neil Diamond. This interactive audio-visual theatre show takes you through fifty years of the music of the great man.
Brooklyn Creed stars as Neil Diamond who talks you through background information to the songs as he performs them. There is also narration in parts to deepen the history as we see old photos on a big screen. When the screen is not telling part of the story, the images add to the overall performance with different colourful pictures to match the tracks.
Brooklyn is accompanied by The Salvation Band which consists of experienced musicians who are able to play in a way that shows their love of the music. The Diaz Sisters, Juanita and Izzy, are the backing singers who are full of fun and sparkly dresses. Between the sisters and the band, we already have fantastic talent on the stage and confident of a good night of music ahead.
And then Brooklyn comes on stage in his glittery shirt and glittery guitar strap playing away. Of course, we’re all waiting for him to open his mouth and start singing….he did and we all let out a sigh of relief – he’s actually pretty good!
The overall performance from Brooklyn was excellent, not only is he a talented musician, singer and performer, you can tell that he’s paid attention to Neil Diamond’s voice and makes the effort to sound as close to him as he possibly can, while sounding very natural. There were many moments where it was almost identical with his rasp and tone.
As each song was announced either with an intro or the first bar of the track, the audience audibly gasped with joy as they were about to hear their favourite song.
The overall show was oodles of fun. You’ can’t really listen to ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’ or ‘Forever In Blue Jeans’ without a tapping foot and wearing a smile. This show took you further as it progressed through the years, we were encouraged to clap, sway our arms and sing along. The excitement was building through the whole evening, to the point where audience members had the need to stand up and dance, which of course encouraged others to, until practically everyone was up and dancing by the last song. This in itself was a joyous sight.
Brooklyn and his band truly made it a celebration of the music, as we were filled with the joys of Neil Diamond. Yes, ‘Sweet Caroline’ was the predictable, yet highly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed encore song.
The show was packed with Neil Diamond songs and included ‘Crunchy Granola Suite’, ‘Song Sung Blue’, ‘America’, ‘Kentucky Woman’ and ‘Play Me’. A good, yet difficult selection to make considering the huge choice.
I was sitting next to a hard-core Neil Diamond fan and she rated it as ‘a strong nine’ – now that is a score!
‘Hello Again’ is touring the region, make sure you check the GrapevineLIVE listings to see when you can catch this show again.