Here You Come Again

Nottingham Theatre Royal – until Sat 13 July 2024

Reviewed by Amy V Gathercole


Hugo Glendinning

“WWDD? (What would Dolly do?) See this musical is what she would do. Toe-tapping tip top first class entertainment.”

I’m willing to bet that there’s not a soul that hasn’t heard of the global star, the iconic Dolly Parton, right? So it’s pretty surprising that it’s taken this long for a musical to pop up featuring all of her hits. Dolly has fully authorised the production too.

It’s been an instant hit following several shows in the USA and is now on a UK tour ahead of beginning a stint in the West End. Here You Come Again is a fresh, new and delightful musical comedy hitting all the right notes musically and comedically.

It’s unlikely that many of us would want to relive our isolated experiences during the pandemic, but that’s the unique setting for this surreal show.

When we meet Kevin (Steven Webb) he’s a few weeks into lockdown, his relationship has fallen apart, he’s back living with his parents and he’s self-medicating – oh and he’s in his forties on furlough from a job he’s not the biggest fan of.

He’s also reluctantly back in his childhood safe space of his parents attic, quarantining amidst all his old toys, complete with superhero bedspread and surrounded by hobbies of his younger years and of course, his Dolly Parton shrine. We all had one of those right?

For Kevin ‘WWDD?’ is his personal mantra and throughout the show her inspirational and comforting lyrics perfectly fit the story of Kevin’s transformation. Steven Webb has spent most of the past decade in the ‘Book of Mormon’ and this is a huge departure from that, as he adeptly carries the stage solo for some of the performance – he’s very impressive with physical comedy.

Dolly (Tricia Paoluccio) is honestly amazing, her voice when singing and her accent when speaking is flawless. She’s clearly a Dolly superfan too as her mannerisms match the style and southern drawl to a T. Tricia has nailed the look, the laugh, and the feel of the country superstar, she also co-wrote parts of the show. She gets to dazzle in plenty of fantastic outfits created by the wonderful mind of costume designer Paul Wills as well.

Throughout the show Dolly almost takes on a fairy godmother-like role, as a manifestation of Kevin’s imagination. With a lot of humour and songs, she helps Kevin realise that things could be worse and helps him sort his life out, step by step. Whilst she shares some life lessons and anecdotes about her own struggles and triumphs that not everyone will know.

The show is written by Bruce Vilanch with Gabriel Barre and Tricia Paoluccio. TV and theatre writer Jonathan Harvey, (who has written for both”Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” and “Coronation Street“) brings a new style and much welcomed twist to the jukebox musical, as they interject more British humour.

This production is the perfect form of escapism, which is created brilliantly by Paul Wills’ magical and nostalgic stage design. It’s a treasure trove and very cleverly built for reveals and creating the impression of extra space as the only location in the show. Look carefully and see how many childhood memories you can spot, there’s so many.

Here You Come Again is a belter of a new musical – hilarious, vibrant and full to the rafters with heart and hope. The fun show is packed with iconic songs like ‘Jolene’, ‘9 to 5’, ‘Islands in the Stream’, ‘I Will Always Love You’ and of course ‘Here You Come Again’ – it would be a crime to miss it.

So grab something covered in rhinestones and your best cowboy boots and book some seats.