With all the current talk about George Michael (it would’ve been his 60th birthday on June 25th and July 9th is the 40th anniversary of Wham’s debut album) I decided to hotfoot it to the West End for some music therapy.
I’ll admit now, I’m not a massive George Michael or Wham fan, but I am fed up with the constant gloom and doom so I was in the mood for a pick-me-up. Fastlove ticks this on every box. And what did surprise me was how many of the songs I knew all of the words to!
From the outset Michael Joseph (the tribute act to George Michael) sets the audience expectations. He proclaims: ‘There will only ever be one George Michael, we are just here to honour the music.’ It’s an honour they do well. The hits come thick and fast and every song you’d want to hear is played.
Michael Joseph, while being the main act, is ably supported by the fantastically talented band, who at times, even outshine his performance. ‘Knew you were waiting’ is one such song where backing vocalist Carol Riley truly and utterly upstages him with her powerful voice and stage presence. As she dances freely across the stage filling the auditorium with her amazing vocal range, you are reminded Joseph is having to play a part, he is acting the role of George Michael.
Joseph clearly knows his craft. He’s a good resemblance of George Michael and he’s a pretty good singer, but he lacks the stage presence and charisma of the real thing. His camp spins on the original videos projected at the rear were clearly tongue-in-cheek and show how much fun he could have with this act – if he allowed himself to be a bit freer. At times his posture was so fixed, I wondered if he was stuck in a glass box.
However, I don’t think this is the sort of show where you should go too deep. The fans were up and dancing from the get-go and when the musical bars to ‘Faith’ commenced, none of the band needed to get involved until at least the second verse because the audience already had it.
I don’t know what true George Michael aficionados would make of this show, but when I spoke with people afterwards, they were unified that Fastlove had exceeded their expectations, and I have to agree. I don’t remember the last show I went to where I was on my feet dancing and singing from the opening bars. If you want a fun night out – I would definitely hotfoot it to Fastlove.
Fastlove is touring across the UK until 16th December www.entertainers.co.uk/show/fastlove/
Reviewer: Samantha Collett
Reviewed: 20th June 2023
North West End UK Rating: