Adelphi Theatre, London
The Sweet Caroline Ultimate Tribute event, from the creators of Fastlove and The Magic of Motown, takes one on a musical journey that bridges generations through music and is a tribute to Neil Diamond, a man who with more than 130 million records sold worldwide, now marks the 50th anniversary of his career.
Simply staged, with only a few lighting changes during the show, Gary Ryan and his band deliver an exceptional take on a selection of Diamond’s classic numbers. The evening’s first act is mainly based on Diamond's early career and solo albums and is a fascinating trip back in time. One is transported to the 1960s and 70s with songs like "I’m A Believer", crossing through different music styles that range from country with songs like "Cracklin' Rosie" to reggae with songs like "Red Red Wine". Throughout, Ryan shares personal anecdotes about his relationship with Neil Diamond's music.
The show however lacks a little structure and occasionally the performances seemed flat. Perhaps if the evening's visual components were enhanced - maybe some well imagined projections - it may add to a greater audience connection?
The music though is flawless. The second half proving a treat with Diamond’s classics including "Forever in Blue Jeans" and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," before concluding with "Sweet Caroline" and "I Am... I Said" the perfect way to wrap up the performance.
Reviewed by Ana Gonzalez