Acclaimed UK comedian, actor, writer, TV presenter, radio host and all-round Renaissance man Lenny Henry returns to his roots with a funky, funny and personal one man show, Cradle to Rave, about the thing he loves most: music.
Touring to Auckland and Wellington in June 2012, Cradle to Rave is Henry’s most personal show yet, offering a hilarious and touching insight into a man to whom music matters a little too much. From growing up thinking Elvis was a relative as there were so many pictures of him in the house, to missing a cue during his acclaimed theatrical debut as Othello because he was listening to hip hop, Cradle to Rave sets Henry’s family, first loves and fame against a musical backdrop – a comic cabaret voyage through his life told via its eclectic soundtrack.
Music has always been a huge part of Henry’s life and is his first love. It was impersonating Elvis Presley that first catapulted him into the entertainment industry in 1975. After being coerced by friends at the age of 16 to get up and perform, an ‘open spot’ at The Queen Mary Ballroom in Dudley, Henry found himself doing the only thing he felt comfortable doing – singing Jail House Rock complete with all the moves.
While Henry’s enviable career spans television to stand up to Shakespeare and serious theatre, it has never stretched to music. Despite scoring a gig singing backing vocals on a Kate Bush track, this did not lead to greater things. He only started learning the piano at 40 alongside his daughter, and a meeting with legendary record producer Trevor Horn in the 80s dashed his dreams of musical success. “I love music,” says Henry, “but it only likes me.” Cradle to Rave peers behind the curtain of Henry’s successes to examine his life and his thwarted musical ambitions, with plenty of laughs and lots of funky tunes along the way.
Directed by the critically acclaimed UK theatre director Richard Wilson, Cradle to Rave is Henry's musical journey from fan boy to the greatest singer the UK never had.