Review: Get Up, Stand Up! - Joy, hope, tears and iconic music!

Posted on 5 November 2021

Last night I got to see the sizzling new production, Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, at the Lyric Theatre, London. I was so lucky to get tickets for this show as it was packed and buzzing way before it started; and it was just a brilliant night out.

This is a show that I will be recommending to all my friends and family as it creates a wonderful positive feeling that stays with you as you wander off home. The show takes you from Bob Marley’s childhood in Trenchtown, Jamaica, through to his meteoric rise to fame across the world.

Singing along to amazing songs like 'Exodus', 'No Woman No Cry', 'Waiting in Vain', and 'Three Little Birds', took me right back to 80s London, and the spirit of real joy I felt listening to Bob Marley’s music. Once again it made me want to dance, which I promptly did along with many others as we stood to applaud the cast. Fabulous.

Yes, it is sad in places, and horribly but rightly thought-provoking in others, but the overwhelming feeling of positivity and hope, and the celebration of pure genius talent just washes over the audience.

I loved how this show shone the light on a true and brutal story and told at least some of the history to the audience. I was blissfully unaware of the political and personal situation and suffering, despite having grown up with this music and a love of The Wailers. It also hit me that this is just one small piece of the puzzle, one story, and I’d love to see more like this in the West End.

Moving to individuals, I have to say that Arinzé Kene was exceptional – a massive talent to watch out for. I think I fell a weeny bit in love. His vocals and acting were just captivating and his storytelling superb. I thought the duets with Gabrielle Brooks were so touching and believable (teary moments, so emotive).

Gabrielle’s depiction of Rita Marley was also a standout moment for me. Her voice is beautiful, strong and smooth and just gorgeous, and her acting is spot on. Lovely.

There was a wonderful connection between the cast that was palpable. It is a very strong lineup and everyone is to be commended for oozing that one family (one love...) feeling. I do also have to mention the female backing singers. What harmonies, what a joy to listen to and what talent. I’d look out for any show they were performing in. Loved you, ladies!

The sets were just on the right side of good; not distracting from the music but interesting and innovative. The way the whole-cast numbers were presented allowed all of the cast to be in view which I really liked. Seeing the dancing clearly as well as the singing was fab – no hiding in the back for anyone!

Just when the nights are drawing in and the cold evenings are creeping over us, we should be looking for shows like this to give us that warm feel-good factor, and this certainly hits the spot.

This was a triumph, with a standing ovation, audience participation and a massive feel-good factor to take home with us.

Book now before word gets out and the tickets disappear, and remind yourself just how great those tracks are.

Carole Lovstrom

By Carole Lovstrom

Carole has been interested in theatre and circus for many years. She now blogs for View From the Cheap Seats and London Theatre Direct when she gets the chance.