The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings








Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp London London Review
Pub Rock

Look I'm uncomfortable and I'm betting I'm not the only one. — Richie
From all appearances it seems that we have come to listen to One Trick Pony a four member rock band playing in the local pub, The Hop Poles — except that we know that most of the audience have bought tickets from the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and that all may not be as it seems. We assemble in the theatre foyer and then are led across the road to the pub to a front room upstairs.

The opening rock 'n' roll number "Mustang Sally" is a song made famous by Wilson Pickett and prominent in the 1991 Roddy Doyle film, The Commitments. One Trick Pony is the name of theatre group Cartoon de Salvo's alter ego rock band, one of whom, Brian Logan, disguised in an Adam Ant style military Hussar's uniform, doubles as a music critic on The Guardian. They play and sing well and were it not for the ironic commentary between numbers you might not realise this is a theatre performance and not purely a pub music gig with idiosyncratic incidents. In fact, One Trick Pony have sometimes played a venue without indicating that this a dramatic performance.

So what is different? There is the old marital split and remaining wounds between guitarists and vocalists Hayley (Alex Murdoch) and Richie Dyson (Neil Haigh) being played out onstage. There are the ups and downs of a pub band: whose ego is wounded this week and who feels left out of things and is threatening to quit, who will get a chance to play their original music as opposed to the main diet of cover versions of well known rock? The "real life" romantic issues use the love songs to good effect with "The First Cut is the Deepest" and "I Can't Live if Living is Without You" exposing the human pain of members of the band, but not really convincing in the acting department because of the jokey atmosphere. Tai Lawrence is the drummer Jez who is distanced as all drummers seem to be.

The devised performance carries on in the interval with the getting-on-a-bit band members still in character as they take a break: Hayley the bass guitarist applying the Ibuprofen gel to her sore arms and with strapped up fingers, wondering whether Richie will come back to finish the gig. After all, this band has the reputation of never missing a gig no matter the weather or the traffic or the vehicle breakdowns. The rows will be followed by a "kiss and make-up" and Hayley on bass will be quite overcome as One Trick Pony play their final gig together. A filmed sequence has fun flash backs filmed locally of the band busking in true rockumentary style.

The rock songs are popular, a couple harking back to Elvis and the Beatles mixed in with numbers from the 1970s and 80s, some cheesier than others like "We are Family" and "500 Miles". The songs are well enough rendered but there too is little content which could be described as theatre, leaving more the impression that we have stumbled into someone else's in-joke rather than having discovered the new Blues Brothers .

Subscribe to our FREE email updates with a note from editor Elyse Sommer about additions to the website -- with main page hot links to the latest features posted at our numerous locations. To subscribe, E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message -- if you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
Pub Rock
Devised by the cast
Directed by Alex Murdoch

With: Neil Haigh, Tai Lawrence, Brian Logan and Alex Murdoch
Design: Rebecca Hurst
Music Director: Paul Kissaun
Video: Nick Herril
Running time: Two hours with one interval
Box Office: 0871 2211 729
Booking to 20th February 2010 in Hammersmith and then touring in the South of England in April and May
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 5th February 2010 performances at the Hop and Poles Pub, but meet at Lyric Theatre, King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 0QL (Tube:Hammersmith)

Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Pub Rock
  • I disagree with the review of Pub Rock
  • The review made me eager to see Pub Rock
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email . . . also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

London Theatre Walks

Peter Ackroyd's  History of London: The Biography

London Sketchbook

tales from shakespeare
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.
Our Review

©Copyright 2010, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from