REVIEW: All The Fun Of The Fair, Lyceum

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Inspired by the David Essex album of the same name this musical, nearing the end of its seven-month national tour following a successful West End run, takes the audience on rollercoaster ride.

It features many of David’s hits still sung in his crooning style to get the ladies swooning with Gonna Make You A Star and Rock On, and where it’s perhaps too much to ask of his voice Rob Compton as his son Jack, does the business on Lamplight and Hold Me Close.

Fresh from Eastenders after a six-month spell as Eddie Moon, Mr Essex is no stranger to musicals having first come to national notice in the original West End production of Godspell four decades ago.

Though he is the undoubted focus of the audience throughout, several of the impressive cast catch the eye, particularly the excellent Tim Newman as kind hearted orphan Jonny.

Co-written with Boogie Nights creator Jon Conway, David plays fun fair owner Levi Lee, recently widowed and striving to control his wayward son and save the ailing Fun Fair in a fast paced show that has as many twists and turns as a helter skelter.

It’s a great visual spectacle too, with dodgems, carousel horses and Wall Of Death motor bikes, the latter in the wonderful Silver Dream Machine set getting the audiences cheering.

There’s a surprise at the close of the first act, guaranteed to make everyone in the theatre jump and an unexpectedly tragic twist in the tail but the standing ovation at the close is predictable with the show getting positive reviews nationwide and bringing yet another hit for the charismatic Mr Essex.