The Osmonds – A New Musical Review

Brighton Theatre Royal – until Saturday 1 October 2022

Reviewed by Sue Bradley


Remember Alan, Wayne, Jay? No? How about Merrill? Still nothing? Now add in Donny, Marie and ‘Little Jimmy’….. ah yes, arguably the most famous musical family of all time; certainly in our lifetimes. The Osmonds.

Narrated and written by Jay (played by Alex Lodge), the youngest of the original four brothers in the performing group, we are taken through a whistle-stop tour of their lives. From their first public appearances as a barber-shop quartet in 1958, with the eldest of them only 9, through the almost unbelievably successful years in the early to mid 70’s, now with Donny and Marie, and on to the low point in the 80’s when they nearly lost everything, before finally recovering by concentrating on what they did best; entertaining as singers and dancers.

In recent years we have seen a number of ‘boy-bands’ become extremely successful, but many of them owe their singing style and dance moves (and even some of their songs) to the sensation that was The Osmonds.  And, unlike today’s boy-bands, each of the ‘boys’ were talented multi-instrumentalists as well as singers and dancers. It may be hard to believe it is almost 50 years since they were all over our screens!

In this show we learn very little about the individual characters within the family – we have to draw our own conclusions about who these talented boys/young men and woman were and how they coped with the twin pressures of public adulation and a Drill-Sergeant-like father demanding perfection. More detail about this would have made the show more interesting and accessible to any audience members who were not Osmonds fans. 

Interestingly, although famously a Mormon family, religion plays no direct part in this show – the nearest we get to understanding its place in their lives is their family motto ‘Faith, Family and Career’.

You will hear all the hits and, dependent upon how much of a fan you were (or are), some of the slightly less well known songs and rest assured, you will find yourself unable to resist humming or singing along to ‘Let Me In’, ‘Love Me For A Reason’, ‘Paper Roses’, ‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’ and of course, ‘Puppy Love’.

The sound production was excellent – although we never see them, there is a full live band somewhere backstage and they provided a more or less flawless backing for the singing and dancing. And, although there is probably not a stand-out voice amongst these performers (although Marie, voiced by Georgia Lennon, has a fine country voice), their ensemble singing is very strong, with one or two acapella (voice only) sections which are astonishingly good (despite there being 3 understudies on the night this review took place).

It is in the very nature of The Osmonds for this show to have a ‘Middle Of The Road’ character but don’t be put off by that – the production values are extremely high, and if you are an Osmonds fan you will find yourself joining the rest of the audience by getting to your feet and giving the performers the standing ovation they have worked so hard to deserve.