The Cher Show Review

Birmingham Hippodrome – until 6th August 2022

Reviewed by Emma Millward 


Based on the book by Rick Elice, The Cher Show tells the story of the highs and lows of the career of Cher. It first premiered in Chicago in 2018. This new touring production is directed by Arlene Phillips (Strictly Come Dancing) with choreography from former Strictly Professional Oti Mabuse.

In the show, Debbie Kurrup, Danielle Steers and Millie O’ Connell each play Cher in three stages of her life; Babe (O’Connell), Lady (Steers) and Star (Kurrup). All three appear on stage together throughout most of the show and it’s a really clever way of showing the changing personalities and attitudes of Cher as she progresses through her career. Throughout the show, the background props and backdrops are used to let us know exactly which year of Cher’s life we are seeing. Although the songs don’t necessarily appear in the chronological order that Cher herself released them.

First we met Babe, the teenage Cher of the 1950s-1960s and her mother, Georgia (Tori Scott). Babe is a shy and awkward girl who finds a sense of security within Sonny Bono (Lucas Rush) and their ‘Sonny and Cher’ partnership. Millie O’ Connell perfectly captured the young Cher’s naivety and innocence. Their performance of Sonny and Cher’s first ‘Top of the Pops’ performance in London was brilliant and both actors nailed their characters’ movements and mannerisms. 

Next we met Lady, the 1970’s version of Cher. She is now confident and starting to realise her partnership with Sonny is not as equal as she thought. Danielle Steers is brilliant as the wise-cracking Cher who makes fun of Bono’s height on their television show. She also showcased her amazing vocal talents, especially during ‘Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down). During this section we meet Bob Mackie (Jake Mitchell), the man responsible for Cher’s most flamboyant outfits over the years. ‘Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do’ was a personal favourite of mine, showcasing both Oti Mabusi’s choreography and Jake Mitchell’s camp and cheeky mannerisms as Mackie. 

Finally, we met Star, the late 1970s onwards incarnation of Cher. We follow the older Cher as she starts her pursuit of finding success as an actress, despite people often belittling her attempts. But Cher being Cher, she doesn’t give up and receives an Academy Award for her hard work. Although all three versions of Cher are amazing, for me, Debbie Kurup captures the vocals of Cher perfectly. But that could be because she gets the most famous and powerful songs to sing, such as ‘’Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves’ and ‘Just Like Jesse James’. The latter of which she sings with her second husband, Gregg Allman (Sam Ferriday, in one of the four roles he plays in the show). As a fan of the film Burlesque, I was pleased to see Diane Warren’s huge power ballad ‘You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me Yet’ appear in the show. All three actors nailed this song perfectly and the huge cheer from the crowd was well deserved. 

The finale of the show got everyone on their feet (well, Cher/Star did insist we get our phones out and get up!) It turned into a full-on concert-like medley of Cher songs. ‘Believe’ and ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ definitely bought the house down. If you want a feel-good night of glitter, sequins, big hair and even bigger voices, then you definitely need to grab your tickets for the most fabulously flamboyant show in town.

Spider’s Web Review

Theatre Royal Concert Hall Nottingham – until Saturday 6th August 2022

Reviewed by Amarjeet Singh


Spider’s Web is written by the queen of thrills, Agatha Christie. The play opened at the Theatre Royal Nottingham in 1954 and is Christie’s second most successful play. You can imagine the anticipation and excitement I felt sitting in the Theatre Royal 68 years later, listening to songs from the 50s, waiting for curtain up. The production did not disappoint.

Spider’s Web is set in 1953, in Copperstone Court, which is the newly acquired home of the Hailsham-Browns. Henry is a Foreign Office diplomat and, while he is busy working, his second wife Clarissa occupies her time making up scenarios in her head, to add some excitement in to her life, and takes care of her exceedingly hungry stepdaughter Pippa. In one of those scenarios, she imagines what she would do if she were to find a body in the house. Unfortunately, after an eventful day the scenario comes true. Clarissa has to call on those closest to her to unravel the truth and protect those she loves before they all succumb to danger, or she gets blamed for the murder.

A beautiful set, focussing on the main drawing room and patio of Copperstone Court, and simple lighting and sound effects were all that was needed to aid the story driven play. The cast as a whole come together to bring this wonderful play to life, each player, line and movement perfect, but I feel compelled to mention 2 stand outs.

Lara Lemon is sublime as Clarissa. Charming and endearing, she effortlessly glides from scene to scene, engaging subtle changes and never succumbing to one note hysteria. Its hard for me to explain her coquettish manner and understated flirtatious, alluring, grace, giving us 50s realness and breathing life into the strong, smart feminine protagonist.

Susan Earnshaw is a joy to behold as the eccentric and enigmatic gardener, Mildred Peake. Mysterious and hilarious in equal measure, her humour was on point and had the audience laughing out loud. It was quite obvious she relished the role.

Spider’s Web shows that Agatha Christie can do comedy as well as drama, there were some truly hilarious moments. The plot is intricate and, in this play, particularly unfathomable, but we are here to be entertained and not fully detect. ‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!’ Come be a fly on the wall with me and catch this astounding play before it’s too late.

Spellbinding cast announced for world premiere of The Book Thief

Cast announced for world premiere of
The Book Thief
Saturday 17th September – Saturday 15th October 2022

Ahead of its world premiere at the Octagon Theatre Bolton this autumn, the musical adaptation of The Book Thief announces its cast. Directed by the Octagon’s Artistic Director Lotte Wakeham (One Man Two Guvnors, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Peter Pan, Octagon Theatre) and choreographed by Tom Jackson Greaves (Amélie, Criterion Theatre), the script is penned by award-winning author Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper) and Timothy Allen McDonald (adaptor of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka and James and the Giant Peach), with music and lyrics by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson (Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, Walt Disney Animation Studios) and musical direction, orchestrations and arrangements by Matthew Malone. This spellbinding production is based on Markus Zusak’s worldwide best-selling novel and follows courageous young orphan Liesel as she enters a dangerous game of book thievery in 1930s Nazi-Germany.

The cast is led by Ryan O’Donnell (The Serpent, BBC One; Quadrophenia, Plymouth Theatre Royal) as the Narrator, Jack Lord (A Christmas Carol, Leeds Playhouse; West Side Story, Royal Exchange) as Hans Hubermann, Danielle Henry (Doctors, BBC One; After Life, National Theatre) as Rosa Hubermann, and Daniel Krikler (Present Laughter, The Old Vic; Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Universal Pictures) as Max Vandenburg. They are joined by 4 extraordinary young actors; the role of Liesel will be shared by Bea Glancy and Niamh Palmer and the role of Rudy will be shared by Alfie Corbett and Charlie Murphy.

The ensemble is completed by Purvi Parmar (The Jungle Book, Chester Storyhouse; Peter Pan, Octagon Theatre Bolton), Katy Clayton (The Band, Theatre Royal Haymarket & UK Tour; A Taste of Honey, Trafalgar Studios), Victoria Brazier (Pride & Prejudice, Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre; The Secret Garden, York Theatre Royal/Theatre by the Lake), Ida Regan (4 Walls, Derby Theatre; Beauty and the Beast, The Dukes Lancaster), Duane Gooden (The Jungle Book, Fairfield Halls; The Smartest Giant in Town, Little Angel Theatre/Fiery Light), Andrew Whitehead (A Christmas Carol, Hull Truck Theatre; Brassic, Sky) and Matthew Heywood (Peter Pan, Octagon Theatre Bolton; Zorro, Hope Mill Theatre).

Octagon Artistic Director and director of The Book Thief, Lotte Wakeham comments, “I am delighted that we’ve assembled such an exceptional cast for the world premiere production of The Book Thief. We were truly amazed by the outstanding level of talent we saw throughout the audition process and I am very excited to work with this incredibly gifted company of actors. They have outstanding theatre credentials from the West End to international touring, and I’m also thrilled that so many of them hail from Greater Manchester – we’ve been fortunate to draw from an extraordinary talent pool. Casting our young performers in the crucial roles of Liesel and Rudy has also been a real joy and I think audiences will be blown away by them.

Based on Markus Zusak’s world-wide best-selling novel, this brand-new musical promises a spectacular theatrical experience for all, with a beautifully poignant script, sensational musical score and a visually stunning design. Add in stellar performances from our talented cast of adults and children, The Book Thief promises to be the must-see production of this autumn.”

This production is sponsored by Boo Coaching & Consulting.




10 – 29 OCTOBER 2022



Reading Rep Theatre have today announced the creative team for the upcoming world premiere production of Gary McNair’s stage adaptation of Jekyll & HydeThe production, which will be the first production of the theatre’s tenth anniversary season, will run from 10-29 October with all tickets being priced under £20 as part of the theatre’s recently announced ticketing strategy to combat the cost-of-living crisis’ effect on accessibility to theatre.

Gary McNair’s captivating and comic adaptation, which will be directed by Michael Fentiman (AmélieThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), turns Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story on its head, revealing the depths of one person’s psyche and the lengths people will go to hide their deepest secrets.

Are those little voices in our heads our friends, or our enemies? What if they’re neither, what if they’re both?

Gary McNair became a Traverse Associate Artist in February 2017 and was among the first writers selected to create new plays as part of a $5 million commissioning drive by US audiobook giant Audible. His other plays include After The CutsSquare Go (Fringe First Award Winner 2018), Letters To Morrissey (Fringe First Award Winner 2017), Locker Room Talk and A Gambler’s Game To Dying (Fringe First Award Winner 2015, nominated for Best New Play by Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2016).

Michael Fentiman, who will direct the world premiere, recently directed the current West End production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Gillian Lynne Theatre and its prior UK tour. Fentiman’s production of Amélie (The Watermill Theatre, UK Tour, West End) was nominated for three Olivier Awards (including Best New Musical) in 2020, with Fentiman being nominated for a Grammy® in 2021 for his work on the London Cast Recording. He also directed the West End productions of The Windsors: Endgame (Prince of Wales Theatre) and The Importance of Being Earnest (Vaudeville) and the RSC’s productions of The Taming of the Shrew (RSC/US Tour), Titus Andronicus (RSC) and Ahasverus (RSC/Hampstead Theatre).

Joining McNair and Fentiman on the creative team are Max Jones (The Comedy of Errors at the RSC, Noises Off at Lyric Hammersmith & West End) as Production Designer, Emily Irish (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) as Lighting Designer, Annie Kershaw (Safe, Best of Enemies) as Assistant Director and Fran Levin (DORIAN at Reading Rep, The Pirate Queen at London Coliseum) as Costume Supervisor. Sarah Harkins (for Annelie Powell Casting) is Casting Director. Casting will be announced at a further date.

Annie Kershaw will also direct Reading Rep and A Girl Called Stephen Theatre’s upcoming production of Hedda Gabler, which is also part of the Reading Rep: 10 season.

Running alongside Jekyll & Hyde will be the ENGAGE project Stranger Than Fiction, a community project that explores the real life inspiration behind the classic story, with participants creating pieces of fiction inspired by real life.

Central to Reading Rep’s work over the past ten years has been connecting audiences underserved by the arts through their award-winning ENGAGE programme, which has reached thousands of people throughout Reading. 10% of all tickets will continue to be free for those who can’t afford them, and each production in the Reading Rep: 10 season will have a large-scale ENGAGE project attached. The theatre has also announced that thirty £5 tickets will be available to Under 30s for each performance during the first week of each production, and a new family offer aims to make theatre more affordable for those with families and children.

Beginning in October 2022, Reading Rep: 10 will be a celebration of the voices and talent that have been part of Reading Rep’s decade long tapestry of work. The season, comprising five bold and exciting pieces of programming, will see Reading Rep honour its roots in collaborations with ongoing creative partners, whilst also championing a new frontier of creatives. Reading Rep: 10 will feature a mixture of bold new work, reimagined classics and family favourites and as part of the season the theatre has also undertaken a radical pricing overhaul, with all tickets priced under £20.

Paul Stacey, Artistic Director of Reading Rep Theatre said of the season’s ticketing: “It has been an extraordinary ten years of making theatre in Reading, and this upcoming season celebrates every artist, audience and team member who got us to this point. Accessibility and connection is at the heart of Reading Rep. We refuse to let the price point of our tickets be a barrier for our audiences, especially when the cost of living across the UK is so excruciatingly high. All tickets for all shows will be under £20. 10% of all our tickets remain free for those underserved in the arts, and there will be 210 £5 tickets per show for Under 30s. This season promises to radically engage with our future, whilst memorialising our decade long past“.

Tickets are on sale at  

The Drifters Girl – announcement of final performance date in the West End





Michael Harrison and David Ian have today confirmed that their acclaimed musical, The Drifters Girl, will play its final performance at the Garrick Theatre in London on Saturday 15 October, before embarking on a UK Tour next year, opening at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton in September 2023.

The Drifters Girl has been thrilling audiences since beginning in Newcastle in October 2021. The show transferred to London in November 2021, and has continued to play to nightly standing ovations. The Drifters Girl will now play a major UK Tour from Autumn next year, with full tour dates to be announced in due course.

Michael Harrison and David Ian said: “When Adam, Tarinn, Matt and Tosh agreed to be in The Drifters Girl, we were overjoyed because we knew they were special. As are our team of covers, who kept the show going through the immensely difficult periods that the entire theatre industry has faced with Covid. Now we are fortunate to have Felicia, who is giving a thrilling performance every night as Faye Treadwell. It is an extraordinary company. Replacing them all was always going to be difficult, so we have made the decision to close the show when everyone’s contracts end on 15th October.

From its premiere at Newcastle Theatre Royal to when we finish at the Garrick Theatre, The Drifters Girl will have played to over a year of nightly standing ovations. We are all incredibly proud of the show, and look forward to the UK Tour opening in Southampton next year, as well as the North American premiere which we will announce soon.”

The musical tells the story of Faye Treadwell, the legendary manager of The Drifters, who, alongside her husband, fought for three decades to turn Atlantic Records’ hottest vocal group into a global phenomenon.

From the highs of hit records and sell out tours to the lows of legal battles and personal tragedy, The Drifters Girl charts the trailblazing efforts of the world’s first African American, female music manager and how she refused to ever give up on the group she loved. Thirty years, and hundreds of hit songs later, there is no doubt that Faye Treadwell was and always will be, The Drifters Girl.

Felicia Boswell plays Faye Treadwell, with Adam J BernardTarinn CallenderMatt Henry and Tosh Wanogho-Maud as the iconic group. Beverley Knight originated the role of Faye before Felicia took over the part.

Casting for the UK Tour of The Drifters Girl will be announced at a later date.

The Drifters Girl boasts an incredible soundtrack of some of the most famous songs in history, including Save The Last Dance For Me, Under The BoardwalkKissin In The Back Row Of The MoviesStand By MeCome On Over To My PlaceSaturday Night At The Movies and many more.

The Drifters Girl, with abook by Ed Curtis, based on an idea by Tina Treadwell, and which is co-created by Beverley KnightAdam J BernardTarinn CallenderMatt Henry and Tosh Wanogho-Maud is directed by Jonathan Church, with set design by Anthony Ward, choreography by Karen Bruce, costume design by Fay Fullerton, orchestrations and musical supervision by Chris Egan lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Tom Marshall and video design by Andrzej Goulding. Associate Director is Tyrone Huntley and Associate Choreographer is Myles Brown with casting by Stuart Burt and children’s casting by Jo Hawes.

The Drifters Girl is produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian.

Horrible Histories – The Terrible Tudors Review

Garrick Theatre – until 3 September 2022

Reviewed by Joanna Huggett


My 11-year-old daughter and I went to see the show, and found it thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining, and funny. The set was simple but effective. The costumes and character changes were cleverly executed. We found the sound effects, music, and lighting, effective. We enjoyed the audience participation and found the theatre comfortable and cool on such a hot day.

We thought that Ben Martin, who played Dr Dee, and Emma Swan, who played Drabb, were both excellent and clever in the way that they adapted to the different characters. The script was fast moving but easy enough to keep up with, and the historical facts were interesting and made memorable by the way they were added into the play. Particularly those that were put into song and rhyme. We found the show very funny and loved the jokes that were included. We particularly liked learning about Henry VIII’s lifestyle, many wives, and the ascension to the throne after his death.

We felt the showed was perfectly pitched for both adults and children alike, and the length of the show was ideal. Running at just over an hour, so that boredom did not ‘kick in’ and the children in the audience did not become fidgety. Altogether the show was amusing, exciting and very engaging. A real winner!

Full cast announced to join Jenna Russell in Ayckbourn’s WOMAN IN MIND at Chichester Festival Theatre

Full company announced to join Jenna Russell in Alan Ayckbourn’s WOMAN IN MIND

23 September – 15 October, Festival Theatre

The full company has been announced for Chichester Festival Theatre’s new production of WOMAN IN MINDby Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Anna Mackmin and running from 23 September – 15 October.

Joining Jenna Russell as Susan are: Will Attenborough (Another Country at Chichester and the West End) as Rick, Matthew Cottle(The Deep Blue Sea and The Chalk Garden at Chichester) as Bill, Marc Elliott (EastEnders, Holby City)as Andy, Flora Higgins (The Crown) as Lucy, Stephanie Jacob (Small Island, Absolute Hell at the NT) as Muriel, Orlando James (Another Country at CFT, Shakespeare in Love) as Tony, and Nigel Lindsay (TV’s The Capture, Victoria, The Salisbury Poisonings) making his Chichester debut as Gerald.

Alan Ayckbourn’s dazzling black comedy takes us on a dizzying journey through the looking glass into a woman’s mind.

A knock on the head from a garden rake splits Susan’s world in two.

Is she living happily with her devoted husband, charming brother and talented daughter, revelling in her rose-filled garden with its swimming pool and tennis court, and combining her blissful family life with a successful career? Or is Susan trapped in a suburban existence with her pedantic husband, resentful sister-in-law and estranged son, wrestling with desperate frustration at her aimless life of routine domesticity?

Which of these lives is real? Which one does she want? And is Susan in control of either of them?

Jenna Russell’s extensive theatre work includes Sunday in the Park with George in London and on Broadway, for which she won an Olivier Award and was nominated for a Tony; Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings at the National Theatre, the title role in Piaf (Nottingham Playhouse); and Anna Mackmin’s production of Di and Viv and Rose (Vaudeville Theatre). Television includes Midsomer Murders, Gentleman Jack, EastEnders and Call The Midwife; she appeared at Chichester in Celebrating Sondheim in 2020.

Director Anna Mackmin makes her Chichester debut; her theatre work includes Hedda Gabler and The Real Thing (Old Vic), Me and My Girl (Sheffield Crucible) and Really Old, Like Forty-Five (National Theatre).

The Nation’s favourite movie becomes an acclaimed event THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION TO TOUR THE UK THIS AUTUMN staring JOE ABSOLOM and BEN ONWUKWE

The Nation’s favourite movie becomes an acclaimed event





Based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and adapted by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns, this thrilling stage production examines desperation, injustice, friendship and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum-security facility.

The 1994 feature film, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, was nominated for seven Academy Awards. The Shawshank Redemption went on to become the nation’s favourite movie and a huge source of inspiration to film makers, with The National Film Registry citing the film as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Despite protests of his innocence, Andy Dufresne is handed a double life sentence for the brutal murder of his wife and her lover. Incarcerated at the notorious Shawshank facility, he quickly learns that no one can survive alone.

Andy strikes up an unlikely friendship with the prison fixer Red, and things take a slight turn for the better. However, when Warden Stammas decides to bully Andy into subservience and exploit his talents for accountancy, a desperate plan is quietly hatched…

This production will see Joe Absolom take on the role of the wrongly convicted Andy Dufresne with Ben Onwukwe as his inmate Ellis “Red” Redding. Further casting to be announced.

With an impressive TV career, Joe Absolom has barely been off our screens in twenty-five years: from Matthew Rose in EastEnders to Al Large in Doc Martin, Christopher Halliwell in A Confession and Andy Warren in The Bay.

Joe Absolom said, “The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favourite films, an incredibly moving tale of friendship and injustice, and I’m thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Andy Dufresne on stage around the UK”.

Boasting a 30-year stage career, Ben Onwukwe  has seen leading roles with the RSC and the Royal Court, as well as 11 years on TV as Recall McKenzie in London’s Burning and, more recently, the role of Jackson Donckers in Professor T. He reprises his critically acclaimed performance as Ellis “Red” Redding in The Shawshank Redemption, which he first played in the production’s 2016 tour.

Ben Onwukwe said, “I’m delighted to be returning to the role of “Red” in this amazing production. The Shawkshank Redemption film is one which many hold close to their hearts, and it’s exciting to be bringing Stephen King’s story to new audiences. It is a modern meditation on HOPE and in these times, it is Hope that we need”.

Footloose Review

King’s Theatre Glasgow – until 6th August 2022 

Reviewed by Marcus  


I love going to a theatre I’ve never been to before, there’s beauty to be found in all theatres classic or modern. The King’s Theatre Glasgow has that iconic grand and ornate style. While a new venue is exciting, I also love seeing productions of shows I’ve seen before, like Footloose

Footloose is a musical that many of us can sort of sing the hook of the song to, and it’s that film where dancing is illegal, I think. The one with Kevin Bacon, I’m pretty sure. It rings a bell, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. You know it’s a film, you know what it’s about, although you just forget what happens. 

I have to admit that the show was a bit hard to get into, it took me a while to warm up and get on board with the action. This is purely personal taste as the mums in the audience were clapping from the second the beat kicked in. The energy in the audience was electric and it just goes to show how this is a feel good, get up and dance kind of show. 

The cast really seemed to have a really fun time on stage, the vocals were incredible in the songs that you want to sing along to. Ariel (Lucy Munden) broke out singing ‘Holding Out For A Hero’, the audience went wild, and she took that song, made it her own and lit up the stage with a euphoric buzz. The Pastor’s Wife, Vi (Holly Ashton) had some of the slower songs, with the calmer tempo sometimes you lose the energy right after a few of the rock numbers, however her time on stage and singing was phenomenal she controlled the space and took us on an emotional journey. The Song ‘Learning to Be Silent’ sung by Munden, Ashton and Wendy Paver was such a powerful moment during the show and they gave it the attention it needed. There was a well-known face within the cast, Aston Merrygold from JLS, who played the role of Willard, the dopey best friend. He was really sweet to watch as a character, as they would say in the town of Bomont ‘Bless your Heart’. The performance was suited to the stage though I feel like his vocals were wasted, the only song where he is the star is ‘Mama Says’ and while it’s a good song I would have loved to have heard more of him, not to mention he’s got moves. 

The cast also played Instruments for the show which in theory is a really nice touch, and they did a really good job with live music. However, to me it seems to go against the idea of this town banning rock music when the Pastor’s wife starts killing it on the sax. 

Was it a good show? Yes. Will you want to sing along? Try not to. Will you be up on your feet by the end? Probably. The show was good, it didn’t blow me away, it didn’t take my breath away, but it did a good job of entertaining. I feel this is all down to taste as it wasn’t to mine, but everyone seemed to leave with a buzz

The Osmonds Musical Review

York Grand Opera House – until Saturday 6 August 2022


I’m a bit too young to have appreciated the music of The Osmonds when they first released it.  When 9 year old Little Jimmy Osmond was Number 1 in 1972 I was still a babe in arms.  And for all you trivia lovers out there, he is still the youngest person to ever have a number one record!

The original 4 boys – Alan (Jamie Chatterton), Wayne (Danny Nattress), Merrill (Ryan Anderon) and Jay (Alex Lodge) began singing to raise money to buy hearing aids for their two oldest brothers Virl and Tom.  After earning the money and receiving some minor fame, their father took the young boys to California for an audition, the audition didn’t happen so they went to visit Disney while they were in the area instead.  The boys sang with a Barbershop quartet in the park and they were discovered.  They were soon signed to appear on the Andy WIlliams show.  They were hard working and famous.  Donny (Joseph Peacock) and Marie (Georgia Lennon) were added to the mix as they got older and the band became world wide superstars.

Unfortunately bad advice and management in the 80’s led to a financial crisis.  The choice being to declare bankruptcy and lose the Osmond name or work hard to recoup the $80 million debt.  Hard work followed and a 2 year world tour cleared the debts but after the tour the family never sang again together for over 20 years until they joined up to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Alex Lodge is perfect in the role of Jay Osmond, narrating the story of his life – including their loving mother Olive (Nicola Bryan) and authoritarian father George (Charlie Allen) who trained the children military style.  Waking them at 4.30am to practise their singing, instrument playing and smiles.  Lodge’s easy charm and mannerisms make it look like he is really reminiscing about his past. 

The child actors in the cast need a massive special mention, on press night we watched Herbie Byers (Donny), Jayden Harris (Alan), Austin Redwood (Wayne), Dexter Seaton (Merrill), Miles Redwood (Jay) and Austin Riley (Jimmy).  All amazingly talented, especially, in my opinion, Austin Riley as Jimmy.

The tag line for the show is “one family – one hundred million records” and the production is packed full of songs that everyone will recognise including Paper Roses, Puppy Love, One Bad Apple and my favourite Love Me For a Reason. All played by a live band (Will Joy, Tom Slade, Alistair McMath and Adam ‘Twenny’Sheffield).

Bill Deamers choreography echo’s the original moves and Lucy Osborne’s costumes set the right tone for nostalgia too.  I liked the way the boys kept in their colours.  Ben Cracknell’s lighting and Dan Samsons sound complimented Shaun Kerrisons direction.  This is a joy of a show from Aria Entertainment, proving that Katy Lipson really has got the golden touch.

My companion on press night was a huge fan of the Osmonds and, in a theatre packed with ladies of a certain age, it seemed there were a lot of fans in the audience, very obviously having a wonderful time.  Whether an original fan or a discoverer of their music later on, this is a fantastic show that shouldn’t be missed