St Helens Theatre Royal – until Saturday 8 June 2019
Reviewed by Carla Whittaker
On Wednesday evening I was lucky to get tickets to watch Regal Entertainments new show Achy Breaky Bride at St Helen’s Theatre Royal. I went with my nana and we had been really looking forward to it due to my nana’s love of country music.
Achy Breaky Bride is a production written by David Paul and Emma Culshaw, directed by S Gatrill and presented by Regal Entertainments. It is a jukebox country musical which features a number of well-known cast members including Radio City’s Leanne Campbell, West End Star Daniel Taylor, and ITV Benidorm’s/ I’m a Celebratory favourite Crissy Rock joined by Divina De Campo from The Voice (2016) and Regal Entertainments favourite Olivia Sloyan. The line-up is completed by Joshua Ford, Jenna Sian O’Hara and Emma Vaudrey.
The story is based around Dolly’s Dream Dresses, a St Helen’s Bridal Boutique run by Jolene (Leanne) and her brother ‘A Boy Named Sue’ (Daniel Taylor). Despite being jilted at the alter by the love of her life; Hank Reynolds, Jolene works tirelessly with A Boy Named Sue to help brides prepare for their biggest day of their life, however nothing goes to plan. Olivia Sloyan plays Faye a young girl with her own personal chaos going on who helps Jolene and Sue in the shop. Olivia is a very talented actress and her vocals are sensational.
Actress Crissy Rock appeared to be a favourite with the audience due to the comic value of her performances throughout the production. Crissy plays several parts in the show firstly as mother of the brides; Tara, Jackie, Liz and then Miss Wallace who has been saving up for a wedding even though she doesn’t have a husband to be. The highlight for me was Crissy playing Gladys who is an elderly resident of a care home who is marrying her toyboy only to find out when in the shop he has passed away. Jenna Sian O’Hara plays three character brides firstly as Shelly an Irish gypsy, Hattie, and Lia. Jenna, brilliantly was able to change between three different accents –showing just what a versatile actress she is.
Drag queen Divina De Campo show cased their versatility as Breathless a performer who has auditioned for the X-Factor, and Sue’s husband businessman Mikey. I must say Divina De Campo’s stage presence and vocals are excellent!
Hank Reynolds is played by the handsome Joshua Ford; Jolene’s first love. Hank comes to Dolly’s Dream Dresses with his fiancée, he comes face to face with Jolene and it would appear Jolene was not jiltered at the alter they were both at different chapels! I have never seen my nana laugh so much as when Hank did his Elvis stripper routine on stage.
Myself and my nana have not laughed so much in a long time, although I did feel that the amount of swearing and sexual references on occasions was not needed. The whole cast were excellent and really connected with the audience with audience participation encouraged. The songs were catchy and sung enthusiastically by the cast and audience including favourites such as Jolene, Jolene, Achy Breaky Heart, Rhinestone Cowboy and You’re Still the One to name just a few.
If you like a laugh and can appreciate Scouse humour/not easily offended I would recommended this show for an evening of cheesy giggles!