Review of 'Five Guys Named Moe'


“Five Guys Named Moe” is a musical featuring the music of 1940s R&B legend Louis Jordan. The somewhat superfluous story is that music-lover “Nomax” (Edward Baruwa) is having trouble with his love life when five guys (yes, all named “Moe” - “Four-Eyed Moe” played by Ian Carlyle, “Little Moe” by Idriss Kargbo, “Know Moe” by Dex Lee, “Big Moe” by Horace Oliver and the slightly chubby “Eat Moe” as Emile Ruddock) appear, literally, out of the woodwork to provide advice in the form of music. And, er, that is about it.

The cast is amazing with amazingly smooth voices and seemingly endless energy. Though their voices seamlessly blend together in most of the pieces they are each given time to shine in the show with specific songs that highlight their particular vocal talents.

The intimate round Spiegeltent venue and a circular extension to the stage that surrounds the inner seating area allows the performers to freely, and frequently, interact with the audience without being difficult to follow or getting lost in the crowd. You can't help but get involved as the show unfolds, literally, around you. Well, you can try, but you just might be set aside for “special treatment” such as those that they spotted not singing along who were brought up onto the stage…

The first major piece of audience participation is at the end of the first act when EVERYONE is encouraged to sing along to “Push Ka Pi Shi Pie” (with the lyrics falling down on pieces of paper from the ceiling – yeah, they don't make a lot of sense…) then form a conga line that ends up snaking around the room, over the stage and out to the bar area. The 20 minute interval features several of the cast members playing in a small performance area above the main bar so it is worth finding some space in the crowded area to sit back and enjoy. The second act builds to a climax with the incredible “Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby” then, of course, the catchy signature piece “Five Guys Named Moe”.

The Bar Area - With cast performing during interval

The classic Louis Jordan songs featured in the show are a lot of fun and generally light going though some of the lyrics may grate with modern audiences such as those featuring in “I Like 'Em Fat Like That!”.

The music is all performed live with a seven piece band in an area behind the stage that is opened up for the second act then introduced so the audience can see and fully enjoy their talents. They do a great job with energy levels that often seem an equal to the cast.

“Five Guys Named Moe” is a lot of fun so shed your reservations and just go with it. In our performance it took some time for the audience to warm to the experience but by the interval the place was hopping with smiles, hands clapping, and toes tapping throughout. Great music and a great time. We left feeling refreshed and invigorated…though perhaps a bit tired.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2017-09-12

Marble Arch Theatre

Location: London (England)

Address: Marble Arch, London, W1C 1CX ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Marble Arch Station

Telephone: +44 (0) 333 344 4167


The theatre consists of a specially erected climate-controlled semi-permanent tent structure in the park at Marble Arch. There is a large bar area serving amazing cocktails in addition to the auditorium itself as well as reasonable toilet facilities. Traffic noise is only a problem only with emergency vehicles.

The large circular “Spiegeltent” auditorium consists of an inner circle containing tables and chairs surrounded by two rows of seats. This circle is surrounded by a circular stage promenade (used by the show) then outside of that, sections of rows of seats. The inner circle area is accessed by stairs up and over the promenade with visibility a slight issue having to crane to follow the action around the auditorium.