Bristol Hippodrome – until 22 January 2022
Reviewed by Lucy Hitchcock
Written by Tom Eyen with music from Henry Kreiger, Dreamgirls hits Bristol Hippodrome on its UK Tour.
The swinging 60’s stills the auditorium for a feel good show; multi award winning and sequin studded! The sparkling tale of the Dreamgirls is told, following Effie (Nicole Raquel Dennis) Lorrell (Paige Peddie) and Deena (Natalie Kassange) as they battle to make it into showbiz.
The stand out song was Dennis’ rendition of ‘And I am telling you I’m not going’, where The heavily emotive performance rang through the theatre. Whilst Dennis has volume and power in her voice, the song was tainted by the sheer volume of the song. Throughout the show, the microphone volume was extremely high, which was a shame to draw away from the performances. As this song closes Act 1 and was met with a standing ovation, it was hard for the cast to move forward from there and Act 2 seemed slightly flat in comparison to the big finish of the first Act. Natalie Kassanga and Paige Peddie as Lorrell and Deena were pleasant and it was nice to have the focus on them for quite a bit of the show too, with their own solos and performances.
For me, the absolute stand out performance of the night goes to Brandon Lee Sears as ‘Jimmy Early’ an established singer who seems to use his wit and charm to get where he is in life. Sears was funny and so different from any of the other characters that we couldn’t help but laugh at him and clap and dance along when he sang. He gave an air of James Brown and really entertained the audience.
The costume and lighting also deserves a congratulation for the sheer number of sequins on stage, quick changes and lighting to cover every inch of the stage. This truly is no mean feat of a production! There was one quick change which was met with rapturous applause and it truly deserved it!
Whilst the cast seemed to hit the ground with so much energy and excitement, it was hard to top scene by scene and left me feeling like I wanted more. The songs were also very repetitive that I was almost waiting for a section of dialogue (this is not to detract from the performances of the cast!).
If you like sequins and sparkles mixed with the swinging 60’s and some big songs-this is the one for you.