Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical

packs a punch as delicious as any Jamaican rum punch

Get up, stand up (Oh yeah) stand up for your rights (Lord, Lord)
Get up, stand up (In the morning) stand up for your rights (Stand up for your rights)
Get up, stand up (Stand up for your life) stand up for your rights (Stand up for your life)
Get up, stand up (Stand up for your life) don’t give up the fight!…

Lyric from Get Up Stand Up! sung by Bob Marley
 
Arinzé Kene as Bob Marley (Photo by Craig Sugden)

Get Up Stand Up! is the musical the reggae and rock steady fans have been waiting for and who better to recreate Bob Marley’s singing voice and persona than Arinzé Kene, a proven actor, singer, poet and writer. 

The musical opens with a DJ and the whole cast are introduced naming the character they are playing.  We switch to the hills of Jamaica where Cedella Malcolm (Julene Robinson) is bringing up her son, Robert Nesta Marley but cannot afford to keep him after the payments stop from his English father so she sends him to his father’s family in Kingston.  Little Bob (Maxwell Cole/ Raphael Estavia/ Cannon Hay/ Archie Smith) grows up away from his mother for a couple of years but she brings him home when she discovers that he has been abandoned

Michelle Fox as Tybalt (Photo: Jane Hobson)

An early song is “Trench Town Rock” about a part of Kingston, the lyric  “One good thing about music / When it hits you (You feel no pain)”.  We see a home made guitar with strings made out of electrical wiring.   We learn about Bob Marley’s role models, Marcus Garvey and Hailie Selassie, and Rastafarianism.  Marley forms the group The Wailers and in 1965 they release their first album.  In 1966 Bob Marley (Arinzé Kene) marries a soul singer Rita Anderson (Gabrielle Brooks).  Lee Hall has written the book to this musical which follows the life story of Jamaica’s most famous and loved singer.  They come to London on a promotional tour in 1972 and destitute, find Chris Blackwell (Henry Faber) the founder of Island Records and he gives them money to make a new album.  Although Marley says “I’m not interested in politics, I’m interested in people” the CIA have a file on him saying, “He is a Black Messiah and must be neutralised”. 

“Down Low” is sung three ways with Marley, his wife Rita and his girl friend Miss Jamaica, later Miss World, Cindy Breakspeare (Shanay Holmes).  The first act closes with “Jamming” a total celebration with additional brass instruments adding to the beat. 

The second act opens with “Exodus”, the scene full of smoke, excitingly lit and full stage choreography, my favourite dance number of the show.   Clint Dyer has crafted a really professional musical and in Arinzé Kene he has chosen a sensational star, who sings and dances for the entirety of the show.  The ensemble too are impressive and the girls have great voices as well.

“No Woman No Cry” sees Gabrielle Brooks perform a real show stopper and in the splendid final songs is “Redemption Song”, the inspirational words of which the audience know “the songs of freedom” with its contrasting folk-based rhythm. The gentle “Three Little Birds” follows with “every little thing gonna be alright” and its “don’t worry” message .  “One Love” calls for peace, unity and inclusion.  “Could You be Loved” has a magical and irresistible vibe.  To close is the title song of the show Get Up Stand Up!   and yes we got up and stood up as I suspect they will every night for some years to come.

Arinzé Kene as Bob Marley and company (Photo: Craig Sugden)

Musical Numbers

Act One

Lively Up Yourself

Could You Be Loved

Trench Town Rock

Duppy Conqueror

Stir it Up

Is this Love

Small Axe

Concrete Jungle

Talkin’ Blues

Roots, Rock, Reggae

Turn Your Lights Down Low

Rebel Music

I Shot the Sherriff

War

Jamming

 

Act Two

Exodus

Punky Reggae Party

Waiting in Vain

Running Away

Jamming

No Woman No Cry

So Much Things to Say

Redemption Song

Three Little Birds

One Love

Could you be Loved

Get Up, Stand Up

Production Notes

Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical

Music and Lyrics by Bob Marley

Book by Lee Hall

Directed by Clint Dyer

Cast

Starring:

Arinzé Kene

Daniel Bailey

Craig Blake

Charles Blyth

Gabrielle Brooks

Melissa Brown Taylor

Henry Faber

Shanay Holmes

Natey Jones

Sophia Mackay

Cleopatra Rey

Julene Robinson

Jacade Simpson

Nate Simpson

Michael Duke 

Little Bob:

Maxwell Cole

Raphael Estavia

Cannon Hay

Archie Smith

Ensemble: 

Kimmy Edwards

Declan Spaine

Jaime Tait

Swing:

Luke Buck

Athena Collins

Savanna Jeffrey

Rohan Pinnock-Hamilton

Amarra Smith

Teddy Willis

Creatives

Director: Clint Dyer

Choreographer: Shelley Maxwell

Set Designer: Chloe Lamford

Musical Director: Sean Green

Lighting Designer:  Charles Balfour

Costume Designer:  Lisa Duncan

Sound Designer: Tony Gayle

Sound Effects Designer: Benjamin Grant

Music Supervisor and Arranger: Phil Bateman

Creative Producer: Dominic Cooke

From an original concept by

Kwame Kwei-Armah

Orchestrator: Simon Hale

Video Design: Tal Yarden

Fight Director: Kate Waters

Information

Running Time: Two hours 40 minutes with an interval

Booking until 18th September 2022 

Website: getupstandupthemusical.com

Theatre:

Lyric Theatre

29 Shaftesbury Avenue

London W1D 7ES

Box Office: 0330 333 4812

Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge

at the Lyric Theatre on 20th October 2021