New Town Theatre
5-30 August (ex.17) 20.15
A spark of the 50s that has never faded, born a black American in Ohio in 1945, Melvin Brown can still tap, croon and swing with the best of them, bringing a feeling of old Hollywood to the New Town Theatre this Fringe.
Focusing on the late Ray Charles for the first half of the concert, Movin’ Melvin delivers high octane performances of classic hits including ‘I Got a Woman’ and ‘Hit the Road Jack’ before effortlessly taking it down a level with his hauntingly beautiful rendition of ‘Georgia On My Mind’. The second half took on a looser character, with Melvin sliding between Sammy Davis Jr’s music and box dance, and the delights of Ottis Reading and Louis Armstrong. Tributes were also duly paid to Michael Jackson and Melvin’s own musical roots in Gospel music: Do I hear an Amen? Right on Reverend!
Movin’ Melvin’s soulfulness and affection for this period in musical history make him absolutely compelling on stage. A traditional compère, he reminisces over each artist to whom he pays tribute with great ease and charm, and does so with a laugh that is as infectious as his exuberance.
Whilst uplifting, this show left me feeling a twang of sadness as it seemed like a slide from glamour for the talented Mr Brown. This classic entertainer should have been showcased by a big band and silky-smooth backing singers. Instead he had a three piece band with a CD player to fill in the gaps, and a heavily-accented singer in the wings.
Sparkling entertainment from a timeless performer.