Peace Train - The Cat Stevens Story by John Misto, directed by John Saunders and Naomi Coggan
Review by: Paul Towers, 13 September 2017
A Spiritworks production starring Darren Coggan
DeMontfort Hall, Leicester 13 September 2017'critically acclaimed'
Cat Stevens was born Steven Demetre Georgiou in 1948 in the heart of Soho above a café owned by his father, called The Moulin Rouge. Born to a Swedish mother and a Greek father he discovered an interest in music at an early age and took to composing songs in his bedroom and then performing them in the cafes and pubs of London.
For three years his success was building until he was struck down with tuberculosis. During his long recovery he had a spiritual epiphany and his musical tastes took a different turn. This did not go down well with his record label and he fought to be released from his contract. With his musical career soaring in 1976 he nearly drowned off the coast of Malibu and from then on his spirituality kicked in and he turned his back on music right up until the 90's when he gradually started recording again. Although he has never regained the huge popularity of his early career he felt that he was finally able to combine his music with his faith.
Peace Train, the name of his 1971 hit which he reworked for Band Aid, is the story of his life with 23 songs, most of his hits and a few lesser known songs. These are interspersed with a narrative.
The performance I saw was grossly over-amplified and I came away with a thumping headache. While Darren Coggan's singing voice is a very reasonable facsimile of the original his narration, in the style of an over-excited Australian kids TV presenter on too many E Numbers, was histrionic and over-acted. It was like Steve Irwin without the crocodiles and looking like John Bishop.
This show is 'critically acclaimed' and had 7 nights sold out at Sydney Opera House and is touring the UK for the rest of September, Details available at http://www.peacetraintheshow.com/
Paul Towers: http://ptheatre.blogspot.co.uk/