Transformer (4 stars)

This article is from 2015


Lou Reed revivified

Jonny Woo is a master of reinvention. From his striptease ape routine, through Mary Portas impersonations and stand-up poetry shows, Woo has always added his own distinctive decadence to the cabaret scene: with his tribute to Lou Reed (1970s vintage, when he was still cool), he brings his sensitivity to a theatrical rock concert.

Since Lou Reed spent the early 1970s in the company of the outrageous and the revolutionary, it’s a logical inspiration for Woo. Valerie Solanas, Andy Warhol, David Bowie and, of course, Candy Darling – presented in all her erotic glory wander in and out of Woo's storytelling evocation of the fall-out from the optimistic Sixties. Woo plays Reed – although he is slightly too handsome, he has the moves and voice – and leads a hard rocking band. Each song illustrates a particular aspect of the era, but the musical arrangements, including ‘Vicious’ and ‘Perfect Day’, stand alone as imaginative adaptations of Reed's originals.

The cast represent the epitome of outlaw queer, from Candy Darling's sexy dancing, through the macho guitarist and drummer, to Woo's posturing Reed. Far from a bland tribute, it gives the album Transformer a context, and the band make each number fresh and dynamic.

The Voodoo Rooms – run endedl 16 Aug.


  • 4 stars

Jonny Woo The spirit of Rock’n’Roll Animal, Lou Reed, is with us for one last gig. Transporting you back to the 1970s NYC underground, a full rock band plays his iconic solo album, Transformer, including the songs Walk on the Wild Side, Perfect Day and Viscous. Expect appearances from Bowie, Warhol and Candy Darling. This…