There’s something magical about stepping inside a spiegeltent. The venue that brings the travelling shows to town,
The wooden boardwalks, the mirrored booths, and seats in the round bring you as close as possible to the performers.
The spiegeltent that is home to Five Men Named Moe has transformed Festival Square, an under used concrete open space opposite the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.
It may be silver and grey inside, modern and clean compared to the traditional colours of red, green and gold, but clever lighting brings it to life the very moment this show explodes all around you.
From the opening seconds the performers burst through panels in the back wall, this is a show that is rich in colour and warmth, is as upbeat as they come, and wonderfully entertaining.
In short, the show and the venue are a perfect fit.
The Moes – there’s Know Moe, Big Moe, Eat Moe, Four-Eyed Moe and Little Moe – use the circular walkway and the entire arena extremely well, so even if you have a pillar blocking some of the view, it really matters not a jot.
This is a 360-degree show which rolls out in front of you, behind you, to the sides and to the left and right as the walkway spins and sends the extremely talented cast zipping round the room.
The show is packed with the songs of Louis Jordan - not necessarily a household name of yore, but a guy whose music has been covered by everyone from Bing to Buble. Pretty much everyone will instantly recognise him from ‘’Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t.’’
The narrative that links the numbers together doesn’t add up to much compared to other musicals,
Nomax, played by Matt Mills, has got them ole ‘me baby left me’ blues.
Slumped in his armchair, he listens to Five Guys Named Moe on his radio, turning the volume up loud as he drowns his sorrows, unsure whether to move on or go win his girl back.
With just a hint of the ghosts of Christmas past, the singers step out of the radio and attempt to offer some heartfelt advice via a breathless list of songs which are rolled out one after the other.
Dressed in primary colours, they barrel through everything from good time rock ‘n’ roll to jazzy finger-clicking numbers and some smashing boogie-woogie, complete with slick dance moves and plenty of audience interaction.
The songs are the story as Nomax dithers over what to do, and the Moes all take their turn to point him in their preferred direction.
And from start to finish, it’s glorious fun. This is simply a feel-good show packed with a vibrancy that taps into the spirit of Christmas without so much as bit of tinsel anywhere.
They hand out song sheets to get everyone singing along, dish out props to the inner circle – the folk sitting ‘in the round’ – and bring the first half to a halt with a glorious conga that leads straight to the bar. Even the good folk of Edinburgh got caught up in the moment and danced their way to their pre-ordered drinks!
It also led neatly into the second half and the Moes’ big gig with Nomax taking a seat in the crowd before making his decision – to get back or go forward.
From start to finish this is fabulous stuff; a show that taps perfectly into the spirit of the season.
Go see - and enjoy!
>> Five Guys Named Moe
Festival Square, Edinburgh
Until January 7
Ticket info: Edinburghs Christmas