EMPIRE THEATRE, LIVERPOOL – UNTIL SATURDAY 7TH JANUARY 2023
REVIEWED BY MIA BOWEN
Dreams do come true! This sensational and iconic, multi award winning musical returned to the Empire Theatre last night for a second time during their UK tour, direct from the West End. It is a musical extravaganza from start to finish and never in all the years of going to the theatre have I witnessed an emotional standing ovation at the end of the first half!
Nominated for 5 2017 Oliver awards, including Best Musical, Dreamgirls transports you to a revolutionary time in American Motown music history and when being Black and being female meant persecution, suppression and fighting for every opportunity. It follows the lives of three young talented friends, Effie, Deena and Lorelle, the Dreamettes that went from rising backing singers to world famous phenomenons. It was first performed on stage in 1981 on Broadway and in 2006 the story of the Dreams was adapted into a film with a star studded line up.
The music by Henry Krieger is impressive and known around the globe. There is such a variety of styles, from Motown, gospel, R&B, smooth pop, disco and more. The score pulses with drive and energy throughout and the music rarely stops because it accompanies much of the dialogue. The visuals are remarkable throughout and credit should be given to the creative team for such a marvellous show, Hugh Vanstone’s lighting and Tim Hatley’s set and costume design enhanced ‘Steppin’ To The Bad Side’, making it my favourite musical performance.
Without doubt the unassailable star of the show is Nicole Raquel Dennis, as Effie. Her voice is commanding, beautiful and brought the whole audience to a roaring standing ovation at the end of the first half. And of course the audience favourite, Brandon Lee Sears as Jimmy, who’s performance is impressive, he is a gymnast, a dancer and an incredible vocalist.
Dreamgirls is dazzling and beautiful to watch with a whole lotta soul.