| By Molly Richardson
And you’re gunna love me! Well, it. You’re going to love it – the show that is –Dreamgirls. One word is all it needs…
If you’re unfamiliar with the show, Dreamgirls began life as a Broadway musical in 1981 but is perhaps better known for its 2006 film adaptation starring Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson and many more Hollywood names.
The story is set in America in the early 60s when a trio of “Dreamettes” are hoping for their big break into the music industry only to discover it’s not quite as easy as they anticipate. They might have to go against their original values in order to succeed. But sometimes, the pressure to succeed becomes too much, and tensions soon form. With inspiration from the likes of The Supremes, Berry Gordy Jr and more, and showcasing the hardships of success, fame, family and friendship – it certainly is a tale with appeal.
For me personally, though, the story isn’t the most gripping I’ve seen; but I partly already knew that from how I felt about the film. I think it comes across stronger on stage rather than on screen, but I found it takes a while to come to grips with. However, once it clicks after meeting each character, you quickly become aware of whose side to be on; therefore the story begins to flow and it gives a fascinating glance into what music and the music industry were like at that time.
As for the cast, they are insanely talented. I don’t think I’ve ever heard vocals quite like it from a full cast. Their energy is amazing too. I caught Amber Riley’s Effie, in which I felt quite fortunate, as she was the original lead, only performed at certain shows and she played her final show this month. She definitely has star quality, and it’s easy to understand why there is an alternating routine with Effies as it’s a very vocally demanding role. A shout-out is due to Jocasta Almgill, Carly Mercedes Dyer and Kimmy Edwards who were on for Deena, Lorell and Michelle respectively, but had I not been paying attention the cast board and my programme, I’d have been none the wiser as they were naturals in the roles. However, truly this is an incredible bunch of people and each performer was outstanding.
The music is full of soul, RnB, dance and more. From power ballads to dance numbers, this show has it all. With well-known hits like ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’, ‘I Am Changing’, ‘One Night Only’ and ‘Listen’ you’re bound to find yourself in love with the score. Listen in particular is a song I’ve always adored, and I couldn’t help but shed a tear in awe. Plus, there’s glitz and glamour in every second to match. It truly is a treat for the eyes and ears.
Overall, this show is certainly worth the 35-year wait; it’s slick, classy, high-energy, sassy, joyful and a well-deserved hit. There’s clearly already a strong fanbase behind the show, as the audience was buzzing, even on a Wednesday evening. I think it’s the first show I’ve seen where there was a semi standing ovation at the interval AND the full standing ovation by the end of the night. Audiences loved it, and I did too. If you get the chance, grab a ticket to Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre – you won’t regret it.