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27 April 2022

REVIEW|Dreamgirls (UK Tour)

Photo Credit:Matt Crockett

Dreamgirls (UK Tour)
Edinburgh Playhouse

Dreamgirls is a show that for me came out of nowhere and made a massive impact on my small musical heart. I was initially introduced to the show by the 2006 film starring Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson, where I fell in love and the love got stronger when I saw the London production of the show at the Savoy Theatre in Spring 2018. So when the tour was announced I knew that I would be returning to a theatre to be serenaded once again.

I actually got so excited to see this show that I went to see it in Edinburgh, whilst I was on holiday and I have to say that there isn't many shows out there that I'd pause a holiday to go and see but Dreamgirls is one of them. The show follows The Dreams, three soulful singers, during the 1960s as they embark on a life of fame and fortune, through one of the most tumultuous but revolutionary periods of American music history. 

With Books and Lyrics by Tom Eyen and Music by Henry Krieger, and original London direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw this tour has the same feel as the London production from four years ago, only that it is a touring show instead of a West End one which is brilliant for anyone who never got the chance to see it in London or like me if they just wanted to see this fantastic show again.

Photo Credit: Matt Crockett

At the centre of Dreamgirls is The Dreams themselves, Effie White, Lorrelle Robinson and Deena Jones. Each one of them has there own highs, lows and struggles throughout the show and each member shone in  their performances. Paige Peddle, pictured above on the left, plays Lorelle wonderfully. She was truly fantastic and one of my favourite performances of the evening. 

Deena was played by Natalie Kassanga, pictured above on the right, and was again incredible. The role felt like it was made for Natalie. I felt her performance so well and felt like I wanted to shield her from the relationship with her husband in Act Two as Natalie's performance of Deena and the fear she showed affected me so much. Her performance alongside Effie, played in our performance by Sharlene Hector in the song Listen had me in tears in my seat. Sharlene, who is the alternate Effie White that plays the role at certain performances, was nothing short of phenomenal with a powerful voice and amazing stage presence she had me in tears on three separate occasions including at the end of Act One with her rendition of And I'm Telling You, which had the entire Playhouse audience on their feet.

Photo Credit:Matt Crockett

Photo Credit: Matt Crockett

Moving away from the key trio, we have the men in the ladies lives. Curtis Taylor Jr, played by Dom Hartley-Harris is a character I know I shouldn't love but I can't help it. Curtis meets the three ladies at the very beginning of the show, almost by accident and ends being a key reason why they become who they become by turning manager to the group and love interest of two of the characters. This role is a very interesting one as it goes through many changes and by the end it is a character that you hope gets his comeuppance. I have previously seen Dom in other shows and this character is a complete change from anything I have seen Dom play before but he did it brilliantly, the man can do no wrong and my little midland's heart is very proud for him.

CC White, Effie's brother as well as the band's songwriter is played by Shem Omari James was also well played. I last saw Shem in a streamed performance of Songs for a New World in lockdown, where he sung one song and stole the show, so it was lovely to see him in person performing. Brandon Lee Sears as Jimmy Early however has to be one of my favourite characters of the show. The role of Jimmy Early goes through a lot throughout the entire show and Brandon shone in the role with so much charisma, character and joy with the song Jimmy's Rap being a pinnacle of his performance.

The entire ensemble were amazing, making every movement so smooth with choreography on point especially in the big group moments like Steppin' to the Bad Side still being one of my favourite moments.  The show was definitely worth pausing my holiday for and I will also be returning to this tour when it heads to Birmingham at the end of the year without a doubt in the world.

For information, to see where the tour is heading next and to buy your tickets, the official tour website can be found here

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