I don’t often think about wigs, or their sociological implications, but That’ll Be The Day turned my attention to the matter of hairpieces. Not only were there ponytail hair extensions, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton and Mick Jagger wigs on stage but also the theatre seats were occupied by punters donning oversized fake afros and quiffs. Wigs, unlike masks, are the brave performer’s prop: you can’t hide behind a bad wig.
That’ll Be The Day was conceived by Trevor Payne who grew up listening to and loving rock and roll and 21 years ago decided create a showcase of his favourite artists’ work as an experiment. He is unquestionably the backbone to the show, providing inexhaustible energy and expertly delivered comedy. His performance as Cliff Richard was hilarious; bouncing about the stage like a teenager with springs for feet, he still managed to mimic Cliff’s vocals eerily accurately (not that I endorse Cliff or his music). Payne also managed to carry off larking about in a wild array of unflattering outfits, including leopard-print leggings and a babygrow (although not at the same time).
That’ll Be The Day doesn’t try to be ground-breaking or refined and is clearly proud of the fact that it stems from the club and holiday centre entertainment scene. The show does boast some honourable talents; the Dusty Springfield rendition was extraordinary – and to bring you back to earth, Dusty is seen a few moments later drumming for the Everly Brothers' set.
Far from being a self-indulgent attention-seeking performance, this was a team of like-minded individuals having fun being the people they admire but don’t idolize – a comparatively healthy attitude in light of today’s celebrity-obsessed culture. Plus, there's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dance to Status Quo while Johnny Cash shakes his maracas.