Student journalist Jake Rosser from The Bath Studio School reviews the current production at The Mission Theatre
When I first heard of All Cashed In and found out more about the story of Johnny Cash, I knew I was going to enjoy it. What’s more, listening to some of the great man’s more popular tracks, such as A Boy Named Sue and Ring Of Fire, helped me to gain an insight into the life of the original man in black, what his songs were about and also what he sounded like as a singer.
I decided to enjoy the production with my dad, thinking that it would be more his thing, but little did I realise that in fact I would love it more than him!
As we arrived at The Mission Theatre, we were shown to an upstairs room which to my surprise was a picturesque little bar/cafe where drinks were being served before the play. This my first time going to The Mission Theatre and the staff couldn’t have been more accommodating.
As the were shown to our seats, the audience were soon greeted by our host for the evening, Greg Moncur, a young who has a clear obsession with Johnny Cash. As the play starts, Greg is standing with his back to us trying on a Johnny Cash-style wig and clearly looking to get into character. However, as he suddenly turns to face his audience, so the real fan comes out, explaining that he first heard of Johnny Cash through a love letter given to his girlfriend Debbie on valentines day.
Then we’re soon into the first of a series of Cash classics, the evocative and moody Ghost Riders In The Sky. However, the drama of the song is soon given a comic edge with the arrival of Greg’s co-performer, who comes rushing on to the stage only to confuse this iconic Man In Black with “That film with aliens in it!”
And so the trail is set for an innovative and hugely enjoyable production which sees the performer’s own life spookily mirroring that of his idol. As the performer finished another Cash classic, he is arrested for drug possession and use, just like his hero. Then as he is sitting in the police cell, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with the police officer and finds out that the officer is a fan of Cash cohort Kris Kristofferson.
And so the crossovers and coincidences continue, alongside performances of more crowd pleasers including A Boy Names Sue and Ring of Fire, complete with audience participation, and even a final hurrah of Highwayman, as sung by Cash with fellow country legends Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.
All in all, this was a great night out at a welcoming theatre and I would definitely recommend to family and friends. And no, you don’t have to be a Johnny Cash fan to enjoy it, although by the time you leave, you probably will be.