Dreamgirls (West End) Review
Venue: Savoy Theatre, London
Date: Friday 10th February 2017
Believe it or not this show opening in November 2016 is the first time Dreamgirls has been in the West End or UK for that matter. Which is pretty hard to believe considering it took Broadway by storm 35 years ago! Was a big hit as a film, so being on a trip to London and managing to get the final seats for the show was such a good thing. I really wanted to see Amber Riley on stage, I was always a huge fan of Glee and thought she was such a huge talent!
Dreamgirls is about a young female singing group trying to get themselves fame and noticed. From Chicago and with the help of Curtis Taylor Jr they start the rise up. But must sing back up for Jimmy Early to begin with. They all quickly find out thought that fame isn’t exactly what they thought it would be and eventually they would be driven apart.
The show moves at a rather fast pace and is one of those musicals that doesn’t have a lot of dialogue as often you get “talk singing” going on but it really does work so very well for it from start to finish. I was very well aware of the story and the songs having seen the film version quite a few times and being rather impressed with it as well. So to get the chance to see it on stage was certainly a good thing.
The talent on display from the whole cast was outstanding. They really have put together such an incredible group, with both acting and singing ability. The show has many incredible songs, the main one being “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” which even as a standalone song is powerful. But when you see it in the show mixed with the story the emotions that go along with it is.
If you are a fellow Gleek then I am sure you have heard Amber Riley belt out the song before. It was brilliant on the show but live on the stage was well and truly out of this world. Honestly one of the best performances I have seen on stage. It was so powerful and amazing that it reduced me to tears, it really does get to you. Feeling sorry for the character, the lyrics and the performance. Truly incredible and that is just the end of the first act.
Every other cast member had moments to shine and standout as well. Joe Aaron Reid and Adam J Bernard were fantastic each and every time they were on stage with the latter getting a lot of laughs as Jimmy. Certainly taking the tension away from the more serious moments in the story. Liisi Lafontaine and Ibinabo Jack make up the dreams and both bring something different to the show, different singing styles as well as the reserved and then in your face characters.
It really does seem so crazy that this show has never graced the stage in the UK before now, but it is certainly a good job that it now is in the West End and I am sure it could be for a long time yet as it is currently booking up to November 2018. Everything about the production is special, another song I feel I need to mention is “Listen” as I thought it was great to see it as a duet between Effie and Deena which gave Riley and Lafontaine the perfect chance to go at it with each other and it was beautiful in all honesty.
The costumes and lighting were more aspects that really made the show something special. Plenty of different outfits that were often changed extremely quickly. I am pleased this one has been gathering a lot of positive reviews as it certainly more than deserves them. I could easily go and see it again.