Dreamgirls (UK Tour) – Review

Dreamgirls (UK Tour): Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

13th July 2022

★★★★★

Straight from a remarkable run in the West End, Dreamgirls comes to Canterbury with an extraordinary story and out-of-this-world vocals that will send audiences wild. This well-loved musical features the classic songs ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going‘, ‘Listen’, ‘I Am Changing‘ and ‘One Night Only’. Dreamgirls tells the story of The Dreams – Effie, Lorrell and Deena, as they embark on a musical rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the ruthless realities of show business, testing their friendships to the very limit.

The cast are all excellent in role, but it is Brandon Lee Sears who stands out as Jimmy Early. His entire stage presence is exceptional. This coupled with his outstanding vocals and fancy footwork makes the audience fall in love with him from the start. Alternate Effie, Sharlene Hector, brings the house down with her rendition of ‘And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going‘ which thoroughly deserved the standing ovation it gets. Her comic timing is understated and works perfectly for Effie’s character. Vocally, Hector is powerful and yet not too overpowering; her growls and riffs are superb. Natalie Kassanga plays a very likeable Deena Jones. Her quiet, soft voice works well for the character and she shows her true range when Deena steps out into the limelight. Her relationship with Curtis Taylor Jr, played by Christopher Gopaul, is excellent and Kassanga truly shows her fear and anxiety whilst around him. Paige Peddie is hilarious as Lorrell Robinson and truly comes into her own during ‘Ain’t No Party‘. As always, ‘Steppin’ To The Bad Side‘ is a real highlight of the show and all of the male leads and ensemble are fantastic during this number.

The touring production is of a very high quality, whilst it does not quite match the glitz and glamour of the West End production it is still a dazzling array. The costumes by Tim Hatley are beautiful and completely in keeping with the era and style of the 1960’s. The choreography by Casey Nicholaw, especially during ‘Step Into The Bad Side‘ is sublime and reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s iconic moves. The lighting, by Hugh Vanstone, is fantastic and completely makes this show stand out. It is memorable and helps frame each scene. The use of the stage, including limited props and the innovative way that the stage is shown as both on and off-stage is an interesting concept and works well. Whilst the West End production using automation and a more sophisticated lighting rig onstage, the touring production works just as well giving the same general feeling.

Dreamgirls is dazzling and beautiful to watch. The plot takes the audience on a whole journey. But what makes this show stand out from the crowd is the music and talent on stage. The songs will make your heart race, skin tingle and jaw drop. Do not miss this superb production!

Dreamgirls is playing at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury until the 23rd July 2022. For tickets and information click here. For information about future touring venues click here.

Photo Credit: Matt Crockett

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