Now, anyone who knows me well can tell you that as well as having a bit of a thing for books right now, I also have a bit of a thing for music. And theatre. And, more specifically, musical theatre. My all time favourite shows have, up until now, been Sunset Boulevard and Miss Saigon.
I love Sunset Boulevard because I have always loved the old black and white Billy Wilder film; Gloria Swanson as fading star Norma Desmond, and William Holden as screenwriter Joe Gillis. There is something very poignant about the story of the star of the golden era of silent movies being cast aside, unwanted and unloved as new technology came in to replace old and she was unable to keep up. Sound familiar? I think we all suffer a little of that still nowadays don’t we?
I loved Miss Saigon because my dissertation for my degree was on cultural representations of the Vietnam war. Now I’d love to tell you that it was some majorly inciteful and highly academic paper on the way in which media (with a heavily Americanised spin because the Vietnamese know it as the American War) portrayed the war and its influences on film and literature through the ages. But I’d be lying. It was nothing more than laziness and the fact that I got to sit around watching Vietnam war movies all the time, to read a few very good novels and non fiction works on Vietnam and go to the theatre. Where I watched Miss Saigon. A lot. I watched it twice when it reopened in the West End a few years ago, including the closing night performance earlier this year. I watched it at the cinema the other week. I’m going to see it on tour for my birthday next year. (Thanks Sis 😀). I love Bui Doi. Such a powerful song. I cannot hear it without feeling a teeny bit emotional.
So. You’re probably wondering where this post is going? Well. Tonight I have added to my list of must see (again and again and again) musicals. Tonight I went to see Dream Girls. And oh. My. God. It was amazing. If you have watched and loved the movie then you must see this because believe me, live this show is just something else. It’s only at the end of the first week of previews, but if this is what they do in week one, by the time May comes around they will be off the scale, crazy good. My sister and I were absolutely blown away and are already trying to work out when we can come back and see it again.
The cast were incredible and the beautiful blend of humour and emotion was so powerful. Amber Riley was phenomenal in her portrayal of Effie White. My god that girl can sing and then some. To have a standing ovation at the end of each of her solo performances as well as her duet of Listen with Liisi LaFontaine who played Deena Jones, well it’s something I’ve never seen before but so deserved. If you do not feel moved after ‘And I Am Telling You’ at the end of Act 1, then you’re in the wrong blinkin’ theatre.
Adam J Bernard was brilliant as Jimmy Early and Joe Aaron Reid gave the perfect blend of menace and slime factor as Curtis. But beyond Amber Riley’s performance the other standouts for me were Ibinabo Jack as Lorrell and Tyrone Huntley as C.C. Huntley was unbelievable – such a beautiful voice. One of those ‘I could listen to him sing the phone book’ kind of voices.
So. Yeah. In a world full of fantastic musicals, I now have three must see shows. I’m going to go now as I need to get back on to ATG and book those tickets for our return visit. Or two. It’s only money after all.
Dream Girls is on at the Savoy Theatre and is currently booking up to 6th May. Treat yourselves. You won’t regret it.
Happy what’s left of the weekend all