Reviews round-up of Woody Sez at the Arts Theatre in London
The award-winning, foot-stomping stage bio of American folk icon Woody Guthrie is much applauded by the London critics.
The show weaves together Guthrie’s words and songs to tell the fascinating story of his life. The talented cast are all multi-instrument-playing musicians, singers and actors, and you can see how artists such as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison and Billy Bragg came to idolize the man.
See round-ups of reviews below from the Guardian, FT, Evening Standard, The Stage and the Telegraph.
"In a time of widespread affluence, I doubt a show about the life and work of American singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie would strike much of a chord, unless hillbilly folk and blues were your bag. But, my, how the world has changed. I defy anyone to go and see Woody Sez at the Arts Theatre and not come away feeling that this modest yet delectable offering is a pretty snug fit for these cash-strapped, anxious times."
"Woody Sez is the very opposite of an ostentatious, glitzy musical. Instead it's a well-crafted, enjoyable homage to an artist who deserves to be better known. It will appeal tremendously to Guthrie's fans, and should win him a few more."
"This low-key, high-spirited celebration of Guthrie's life and music knocks big West End biopics such as Jersey Boys into a heap of dust.... Though it's best when everybody just sings and plays, and is a little padded – it would be better without an interval – it stirringly captures the rebellious spirit of Guthrie's times, and of our own, too."
"David M Lutken and Nick Corley’s biopic maintains a strong sense of period and the ensemble could quite easily have been plucked from a Margaret Bourke-White still." "The Arts has become a notoriously difficult theatre in which to place productions but there is something decidedly honest and unpretentious about Woody Sez that should appeal to even the most cynical audiences."
"He [David M Lutken as Woody] and his comrades Darcie Deaville, Helen Jean Russell and David Teirstein let the songs do the driving whenever possible and perform them with good nature, vim and virtuosity on a range of instruments including not just guitars, fiddles, banjo and mandolin but dobro, autoharp, lap dulcimer and even Jew’s harp and spoons."