Back in 1978 Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi founded a revivalist band as part of their Saturday Night Live sketch show, writes Nicky Sweetland.
Called the Blues Brothers, the band went on to achieve huge success with the release of several albums and a critically acclaimed film, which reignited the careers of soul stars like Aretha Franklin and James Brown.
Led by a couple of colourful characters called Jake and Elwood (who were played by Aykroyd and Belushi) the band attracted a cult following. The popularity of the group inspired a tribute show, which has returned to the capital for the summer to play a limited run at the Hippodrome Casino.
Along with a gathering of celebrated blues and soul musicians, Joshua Mumby and David Krisptopher-Brown portray the delightfully devilish duo and I caught up with them during a rehearsal.
Joshua told me, “Jake and Elwood Blues are putting on their summer special at the Hippodrome casino. They’ve got together their band and their singers and are putting on a show for the people of London.”
The show – which Joshua tells me is a mixture between a concert and a musical – was first performed in Edinburgh in 2012 and enjoyed a celebrated run at the Arts Theatre with a Christmas special in 2015.
With its intimate atmosphere the Hippodrome in Leicester Square, somehow feels like a much more apt performance space for the Blues Brothers and Joshua said, “It’s exactly the sort of place that the real Blues Brothers would have played, so it’s really cool.”
Rather than feeling the pressure of playing such a famous pair, the actors are thriving on bringing the sound of the Blues Brothers to a new audience and Joshua said, “It’s wonderful to be able to continue what Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi did originally and try to bring this music to the masses. It’s great to be able to step into their shoes and the character’s shoes and lift that a little bit further.”
“They’ve been loving it.” David adds, “People are absolutely crazy for these characters and we want to do a great service to what they know already, but the characters are so good and so well written.”
The show is in residence at the salubrious central London venue until the end of August and the stars of the show are looking forward to sharing the fun.
“It’s all really good fun and it’s about entering into their world and having a good night.” Joshua said.
David explained, “It will be the biggest party they will ever attend. The musicians are ridiculously good. We love doing this show, we love performing the music and we cant wait to share it with everyone.”
Photos by Darren Bell