After over five years and 2000+ performances off-Broadway, irreverent musical comedy Altar Boyz makes its UK debut at London’s Greenwich Theatre. For the most part, this was a hilarious and warm-hearted night out… thank God.
The story sees fresh-faced boy band members Matthew, Mark, Luke, ‘Juan’ and Jewish member Abraham on the last night of their world tour, spreading the gospel through some catchy pop numbers. But not all is as it seems…
After a slightly awkward start, the jokes, puns and fantastically funny lyrics come in thick and fast. With tracks including I Want It In Me and Girl, You Make Me Want To Wait, this is an epic script, of biblical proportions — pun intended.
Lead vocals by Liam Doyle (Matthew), are poptastically strong. Combined with the sex appeal of One Direction and the innocent smile of a choirboy, he’s got a holy trinity of plus points. With such girlie-scream-inducing looks, it’s surprising that he’s not in a real boy band.
Another heartthrob in the making is Jamie-Ray Hartshorne, playing the well-meaning but entirely dim bad boy, Luke. His solo vocals are surprisingly soulful, with plenty of tingling, theatrical impact. And yes, he does show his six-pack (Amen).
The routines are a bit repetitive, and with an unnecessary hoedown at the end, Altar Boyz feels a bit X-Factor-ish. That could be a good or bad thing, depending on what floats your pop boat. Either way, there’s no escaping the annoying voiceover. The choreography is fun, sexy and had all the girls in the audience whooping for delight (and some of the boys too).
Altar Boyz is fun, fresh, feel-good theatre that’s happy to make fun of itself. You’d better pray there are some tickets left…
At the Greenwich Theatre until October 18. Londonist saw this production on a complimentary ticket.