This touring production originated in the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich and although some production values are far removed from the capabilities of a West End budget, the young and vibrant cast try to make up for this, and succeed on most levels, not helped by the poor sound and particularly vocalist/band balance which often failed to work in the large spaces of the Festival Theatre.
The "Sliding Doors"-style story of Camden boy Joe Casey is far superior to other jukebox musicals and the black and white motif works well in establishing the dual action. Sean Needham as Joe's dodgy dad served his narrative function but his Cockney accent often didn't materialise in his solo singing, which should have been creating goosebumps in the second half but didn't fully deliver. Joe's mum Kath (excellently portrayed by real-life Camden girl Rebecca Bainbridge) secured the only spine-tingling moment of the show when the grizzly denouement unfolded.
Alexis Gerred as Casey junior truly excelled in his movement but unfortunately his diction - and sometimes his vocals - let him down. Edward Handoll as tartan-trew wearing love rival Callum provoked some much-needed laughs from the audience, while youngster Stewart McCheyne (from Argyll) obviously had some home support. And of course the show includes much-loved pop classics such as My Girl and It Must Be Love (as well as the crowd-pleasing title track).