Woody Sez - Theatre Review

The life and music of folk icon Woody Guthrie – who inspired fellow legends Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash – are inspiringly brought to the stage in WOODY SEZ at The Arts Theatre in Soho.

PERHAPS best known as the main inspiration of fellow folk icons Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie was a cult figure in his own right and the voice of the people in troubled times.

Woody Sez is a heartfelt theatrical journey through the life and times of the godfather of folk music.

It’s a musical journey with songs interspersed with the often tragic tale of Woody’s life - a childhood fraught with disaster, his family’s loss of their livelihood, then the coming of the Great Depression. Woody knew hardship well.

Renowned for having a guitar which proclaimed “This machine kills fascists”, he used music as a vehicle for social protest and observation, lifting the spirits of people beaten down by the hardships of the Great Depression.

David Lutken plays the lead role and is joined by multi-instrumental musicians and actors Darcie Deaville, Helen J Russell and Andy Teirstein who bring the story of Woody to life in over 25 of Woody’s songs.

The tongue in cheek comments by the performers and Woody’s wry outlook on life hold your interest, but there could have been more explanation and narrative about Woody’s life and times.

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Really it’s the infectious songs and the obvious enjoyment of the talented cast that make this show. Classics like the rousing This Land is Your Land and This Train is Bound for Glory get the audience going with their toe-tapping beats.

Woody’s songs strike a chord and are as relevant today in our times of recession as they were in his lifetime. An inspiring tribute to the colourful life of a legend.

* Showing at The Arts Theatre in Great Newport Street, WC2 until Saturday, April 2.