Reviewed on Wednesday 19th April 2017 by Sebastian Singh
Photo Credit: Brinkhoff.
Following the rise of three women- Effie, Deena and Lorrell- “The Dreamettes” lose their local talent contest but are spotted to sing back up for Jimmy ‘Thunder’ Early. Their careers soar, taking them from R&B to pop and gaining them worldwide acclaim; however, they struggle with the hardships of the music industry and the effect that this has on their personal lives. Friendships are tested and the women learn that life is not all about fame and fortune.
From entering the theatre, there was an electrifying atmosphere; the air of expectation of a British audience who had been waiting years for this production to make its premiere, and it did not disappoint. Casey Nicholaw has done a fantastic job directing and choreographing this production, bringing the feel of a big Broadway show to the West End; this is helped by Tim Hatley’s effective set design which is simple but brings glamour through some spectacular sparkling sets. Henry Kieger’s music soars throughout the production and was well conducted by Nick Finlow. It is catchy and energetic and fills the theatre; although there were some small technical issues at the beginning of the show, where certain performers could not be heard above the orchestrations.
The cast are very strong in this production, including the understudies. Lorrell Robinson was played by Asmeret Ghebremichael, who has an amazing voice that soars through her solo numbers. In today’s performance there were many covers on including Jocasta Almgill as Deena Jones, who brought grace, attitude and a sensational voice to the stage. I was very impressed by Tosh Wanogho-Maud as Jimmy Early who glowed with energy and gave so much enthusiasm and humour to the role!
Amber Riley, or should I say Olivier-award winning actress Amber Riley, is sensational as Effie White. Absolutely deserving of her Best Actress award, she acts and sings as if her life depends on it and invests all that she has into the character and story. Her voice is incredible and if anything, she sounds more confident and comfortable in the harder songs. “And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going” and “I Am Changing” were stand out moments; her voice is filled with soul and moved some members of the audience to tears. Amber Riley is an example that celebrities can work fantastically in these productions, when they have pure talent that they have crafted for years.
This time, Effie White and Dreamgirls, has triumphed!
This production is currently booking until October 2017.