Nottingham Theatre Royal – until Saturday 28 May 2022
Reviewed by Louise Ford
Dreamgirls, not just for one night only!
Big hair, big ballads and of course big dreams. The Theatre Royal Nottingham has dusted off its best gold curtains for this powerful story of the Dreamgirls.
The narrative cleverly weaves its way through the lives and dreams of a trio of girls. From their early days travelling to talent shows, hoping to be spotted to the big time in Vegas. The girls in their homemade dresses rush on to the stage all young and naive. There’s Effie White powerfully played by Nicole Raquel Dennis, the quiet home girl Deena Jones by Natalie Kassandra and the spirited Paige Peddie cheekily played by Lorrell Robinson.
The simple yet effective staging (set and costumes by Tim Hartley) allows the audience to view the action from both the front and back stage. The set moves seamlessly to allow the action to unfold and the back stage dramas to be played out in full.
The stand out performance and sheer stage presence for me goes to Brandon Lee Shears who plays Mr Jimmy Early. An over the top performer, with an eye for the ladies and a snappy dresser to boot, whose energetic dance routines wow the audience and the girls!
The story charts the changes in musical tastes from gospel and soul music to disco and power ballads. At the same time the inequalities, racism and sexism in both the music industry and wider society are explored.
It’s a night of sequins, choreography, dance routines, drive and ambition. Where everyone isn’t on the same side whether they are family or friends.
The costume and set changes are something to behold. At one point the audience gasped at the audacity of the change! Also a special shout out for the wigs (hair design by Josh Marquette) they really enhanced the costumes.
In all a great evening’s entertainment with lots of energy and soul which the audience really loved.