NOTE-We have not used our normal star rating system on this production
Bon The Musical at Greenside @ Nicolson Square - Emerald Theatre is a new drama/musical from Fife-based Kingdom Theatre Company that tells a little too swiftly (there is only 50 minutes here to do it in to be fair, folks) the story of Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott (9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980) of Australian rock group AC/DC fame. Script for this production is by John Murray.
Born in Forfar, and raised in Kirriemuir (also birthplace of the writer J M Barrie), before moving to Melbourne with his family in 1952 at the age of six, “Bon” eventually went on to an all too short career as a songwriter and lead vocalist with AC/DC and international fame. Many fans of AC/DC still consider his time in their line-up to be the band's finest hours.
From any fan’s point of view though, there is nothing in this story that will be providing any new insights into Bon or his music, as what facts are here are already well known, and of course, one very obvious song has to be here in the show – “Highway to Hell”. Making up for this though is the vocal power of Linton Osborne (who has been touring with Nazareth) as Bon. The only other member of the band that we meet is Jed Gillies as Angus. As half of AC/DC, there is no musical or personal magic between the two of them, but maybe time as the show goes on will sort that out a bit. New songs for this show are by Willie Logan (music) and John Murray (lyrics), and there are a few nice moments from “Bon” and “Angus” on these.
For myself, I actually found the newly written performance material more interesting in relation to this story line than the AC/DC music over the sound system as there is not the opportunity here to give the latter what it really requires to be performed live, and this story in the end is about Bon and not a AC/DC tribute show
I have to be honest in this review and say that I know John and a few more of the people from Kingdom Theatre, and I also know that today’s rehearsals were beset earlier in the day by more than a few unexpected technical issues beyond their control. Taking that into account and also that tonight was a “preview” show, I am not using our usual star rating system on this production as some ongoing issues obviously still need to be fixed before the main opening night. Some of tonight’s issues though were interesting insomuch that they called for some swiftly improvised script changes. Perhaps the biggest issue though is beyond any of the Kingdom Theatre Company’s control, and that is that this performance space is simply not the best acoustic performance space for this type of show. If you want your AC/DC “fix” and some new songs then maybe this is the show for you, as it is Fringe time and performances have to take place in very limited available spaces.
Review by Tom King
Bon The Musical
Greenside @ Nicolson Square - Emerald Theatre
Aug 3-11, 13-18, 20-25
Country: United Kingdom - Scotland
Group: Kingdom Theatre Company