Truly legendary show

Dean Richardson as Freddie Mercury in Legends (2011)
Dean Richardson as Freddie Mercury in Legends (2011)
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Legends - Central Pier, Blackpool

It can’t be easy deciding whether Tom Jones should open a show rather than headline it or explaining to Robbie Williams that he’s coming on before Meatloaf.

But it’s something producers Trevor and Brenda Chance and their director son Richard have got used to over the 13 years that Legends has blossomed in the resort.

Whilst tribute acts are pretty much two a penny on the local entertainment scene these days, Legends rightfully rules the roost with its serious approach to having fun.

That’s largely because the Chance family’s Legends production is the Marks & Spencer of tribute shows – constantly refreshing itself and expanding, polishing the formula before it has time to go dull and sprinkling new material in with the familiar favourites.

As ever there are two different productions to choose from – Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond and Elton John in one, Tom Jones, Robbie Williams, Meatloaf and Freddie Mercury in the other, with comedy compere Tom Bright, four Legends dancers and a big sounding three piece band appearing in both.

Andy Wood’s Tom Jones is typical of the show’s attention to detail. From his goatee beard to his facial twitches he is every inch a recreation of the Welsh superstar – and that’s before he even sings note.

His material spans most incarnations of Sir T’s career – from the earliest trademark belters such as It’s Not Unusual and Delilah through to his born again dance floor filling Kiss.

Matt Byrne has slipped perfectly into the Robbie Williams persona – and has updated his act to include the singer’s recent Take That return with The Flood joining solo hits like A Love Supreme and Rock DJ and his swing revivals such as Have You Met Miss Jones and Mr Bojangles.

New to the line-up this year is Jimmy Love’s Meatloaf. Already popular with his Elton John tribute Blackpool-based Jimmy takes to the early Marvin Lee Aday material with an uncanny vocal likeness and a more than decent stab at the visuals too.

Accompanying him on most the familiar stories-in-song is popular female vocalist Leanne Fury, clearly enjoying a chance to remind us of the rock and roll voice which usually takes second place to big ballads.

Completing this line-up is Dean Richardson (pictured right, in action) taking over the role of Freddie Mercury. Younger and with less of a physical resemblance to the Queen frontman than the show’s previous re-creator, he does nail the vocals perfectly though at times (notably when dragged up for I Want To be Free) sails closer to parody than tribute.

Tom Bright’s likeable Jack The Lad style always goes down a winner and with the four hardest working dancers in town and excellent sounding band, Legends continues to go from strength to strength.