Theatre Review: TEDDY – The Lowry, Salford

Witty, unpredictable and atmospheric, TEDDY is an exciting and fresh take on the birth of rock ‘n’ roll

Tristan Bernays and Dougal Irvine’s award-winning 1950s musical TEDDY may turn the clock back 60 odd years or so but this innovative production is ahead of its time in so many other ways.

Set in the aftermath of the Blitz, TEDDY tells the story of two teenagers, Teddy and Josie, desperately seeking solace in rock ‘n’ roll in a post war Britain. Dressed toe to head in the latest threads, the pair get ready for an unforgettable night out to watch their rock idol Johnny Valentine, whatever the cost, leading them down a path of chaos, fun, love and destruction.

Witty, unpredictable and deliciously atmospheric, TEDDY is an exciting and fresh take on the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Set over the course of a drunken night out in London’s Elephant and Castle, Bernays’ sparkling witty cleverly juxtaposes a depressed post-war Britain with teenage rebellion and thebirth of a new musical era, while Irvine’s catchy and original rock n’ roll score brings energy and life to the gritty storyline.

Right from the get-go, it’s clear that TEDDY isn’t your average jukebox musical. Sitting somewhere in between a gig and play, the skilled on-stage live band ‘Johnny Valentine and the Broken Hearts’ perform hits from 1950s as well as electrifying original songs that sound distinctly from the era.

Molly Chesworth and George Parker in TEDDY. Photo by Scott Rylander

Molly Chesworth and George Parker in TEDDY. Photo by Scott Rylander

George Parker shines as the smouldering Teddy, while Molly Chesworth’s sharp and confident Josie exudes rebellion. There is a magical and vibrant chemistry between the two, which is engaging and believable and their ability to switch between characters is simply memorising.

The on-stage stellar band are equally excellent with Andrew Gallow as Sammy ‘The Sticks’ Smith, Freya Parks as bassist Jenny O’Malley, Dylan Wood as singer Johnny Valentine and musical director Harrison White as lead guitarist Buster Watson, all bringing Irvine’s brilliant, energetic and pulsating score to life on stage with energy, charm and enthusiasm.

But TEDDY is so much more than just a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Its gritty narrative, which takes a turn for the dark side, cleverly captures the grit and excitement of the era, making it stand out from shows in its genre. Bernays’ script is also beautifully poetic, rhyming and rolling off the tongue as Josie and Teddy use the power of dialogue to conjure up pictures, memories and feelings.

With its crafted writing, pulsating score and energetic performances, TEDDY is an lively and innovative musical that is sure to rock your socks off.

5 out of 5 stars

TEDDY runs at The Lowry until 17 February 2018.