Night of tributes in Bognor Regis

Eva Cassidy tribute
Eva Cassidy tribute

Following a successful debut in July last year, Reflections of Johnny Cash, Karen Carpenter, Judy Garland & Eva Cassidy comes to the Alexandra Theatre, Bognor Regis on February 10.

Opening with Karen Carpenter, singer Marina Voak sings classic hits from the 70s synonymous with the singer including Please Mr Postman, Top of the World, We’ve Only Just Begun and many more. The audience are then taken back to the 1950s with Lucy Barratt performing the most memorable hits of Judy Garland. As a life-long fan of Judy, Lucy promises to emulate Judy’s mannerisms and distinctive movement to capture the emotion behind the songs.

After the interval, Evie Payne delivers the melodies and arrangements of Eva Cassidy within a nightclub atmosphere. Songs include Songbird, What A Wonderful World and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

The evening comes to a conclusion with Graeme Clements belting out the biggest hits of Johnny Cash, supported by Jennie Sharland as June Carter Cash for the song Jackson. Other classic songs include Walk the Line, Ring of Fire, Hurt and A Boy Named Sue.

All the singers come from an acting background and promise to give more than just a singing performance.

“We have all studied the original stars’ stage performances and have tried to capture the spirit of the personality,” says Graeme, who performs as Johnny Cash as well as directing the show. “I watched a tribute show and thought we could do better than that by combining acting skills within the performance. Tribute acts are very popular these days, but this came about because I saw one that was quite disappointing. It was a good singer but during the second act, he started playing his own material before coming back to Johnny Cash at the end of the show. The guy sang the songs and sang them well, but he didn’t really create the proper atmosphere.

“And then my wife and I went to see a Karen Carpenter tribute act. In the second half, she started singing all disco songs. It just didn’t seem right. I thought if I go and see a tribute show, I want the tribute all the way through.”

And so the current show evolved. In the show, there will be nine Karen Carpenter songs, and Graeme guarantees you will know all of them. There will be six Garland songs; five Cassidy songs; and then Graeme finishes off with ten or 11 Johnny Cash numbers.

It was important to get the right mix, Graeme says. He was approached by Taylor Swift and Adele tribute acts, but he didn’t feel they would sit well alongside his own tributes – though he concedes in that respect maybe Eva Cassidy is just slightly from a different era: “Judy Garland was 40s, 50s and 60s; Karen Carpenter was 60s and 70s; and Johnny Cash was into the 90s. Eva Cassidy was a little bit later. But we felt that if someone was wanting to come along and hear a Karen Carpenter tribute, they might not come along if there was also a Taylor Swift tribute on the bill. We wanted to have a good continuity.”

Box office: 01243 861010.

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