A round-up of press reviews for FELA!: Direct from Broadway, Bill T Jones’ Tony award-winning dance, theatre and music show based on the extravagant, decadent and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
“It's a great story, and one told with enormous verve in Bill T Jones's kaleidoscopic production. The dancing is ecstatic, the music lifts the spirits, and the stage is alive with movement.” - The Guardian
“There is however no doubt that the show offers a dazzling eyeful, with spectacular designs by Marina Draghici. The music, superbly played by an onstage band, is often thrilling, and the show finally becomes genuinely moving in the second half with the raid on the compound and the death of Kuti’s mother. Yet none of this quite persuaded me that the show was much more than a bog-standard jukebox musical, albeit one performed with exceptional panache.” - The Telegraph
“Rarely offstage, Sahr Ngaujah (the sole import from the original Broadway cast) delivers a bravura performance of almost insolently natural magnetism and witty sexual swagger. The show itself, though, is of variable quality. The best bits, for me, were those that make you feel on your pulses why Fela's music, with its sarcastic pidgin lyrics and obstinately insistent rhythms, posed such a threat to the government.” - The Independent
“While musically impressive, the production could do with a stronger book. The story is flimsy and confused, and there's a lack of narrative drive. With proceedings dominated by one character, we get little perspective on his real qualities and deficiencies. This show may well flummox some of the National's loyal support, but should bring in new audiences. Weaknesses notwithstanding, it feels like a bold new direction for musical theatre.” - The Evening Standard
“FELA! offers a fierce explosion of fizzing theatrical energy that is quite unlike anything else on the London stage at the moment. Sahr Ngaujah, recreating his New York performance in the title role, is a human dynamo of passion and fashion, and his shirtless second act appearance reveals a rippling six-pack that seems to take on a mesmerising choreographic life all of its own. He is joined by a troupe of shimmying, back-flipping and acrobatic dancers who execute Bill T Jones’s choreography with a visceral vivacity.” - The Stage
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